LeBron James has been the center of the NBA universe since he entered the league in 2003 and this offseason has proven no different.
The latest version of the “Summer of LeBron” is a story of failure, opportunity, giving and, most surprisingly, acceptance. Acceptance from the NBA community. Acceptance from the philanthropic. Acceptance in the face of joining one of the most polarizing franchises in sports.
This reception was driven mostly by LeBron, but one tweet galvanized 30 fanbases and gave his story a jolt that will carry him through the season and to the NBA MVP podium next June:
Lebron James was just interviewed by the dumbest man on television, Don Lemon. He made Lebron look smart, which isn’t easy to do. I like Mike!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 4, 2018
Deny it all they want, but MVP voters are suckers to a good story. It’s why Derrick Rose hoisted the trophy in 2011. It served as the tiebreaker in 2017. It’s why MJ and Bron don’t have double-digit MVPs.
But voter fatigue won’t be a problem for LeBron’s case this season. Unless his body breaks down or his production drastically falls off, he’s a mortal lock to be crowned MVP next June.
Making it to the Finals isn’t a formality for him now that he’s in the West and that Golden State still exists.
He gets to play mentor for a young, but talented supporting cast.
He’s making a difference IRL.
Expectations are ripe for him to have a feel good season, on and off the court.
But, most importantly, he serves as the sports protagonist against one of the most divisive figures in American history: The Donald.
The NBA prides itself on being increasingly socially conscience and “woke,” and I can’t see a scenario where voters aren’t swayed by LeBron’s narrative at season’s end.
Because of this, each writer will end up answering two questions with their vote: Who is the season’s most valuable player and which side of history do I want be on?
Despite living in a democracy, in the end we’ll all be bowing to The King.