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Saturday, May 12, 2012
James joins NBA's elite with third MVP

By ESPN Stats & Information


Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty ImagesLeBron James has won the KIA NBA MVP award three times in four seasons.
LeBron James became the eighth player in NBA history to win three MVP awards Saturday, earning the honor after leading the Miami Heat in points, rebounds and assists this season.

James also led his team in total points, rebounds and assists when he won his first MVP award with the Cavaliers in 2008-09. He joins Wilt Chamberlain as the only players in league history to lead their teams in each of those categories in at least two MVP seasons. (Chamberlain did it three times).

For the sixth time in his nine NBA seasons, James averaged at least 27 points, 7 rebounds and 6 assists per game. The only other player with six such seasons is Oscar Robertson, who did it six times in his 14 seasons.

As James made clear when he accepted the award, he has a "bigger goal" remaining this season: winning his first NBA title. At the moment, James is the only member of the three-MVP club without an NBA championship ring. The other seven players with three or more MVP trophies have combined to win 34 NBA titles, an average of nearly five per player.

James, Karl Malone and Steve Nash are the only players to win multiple MVP awards but not a league title (Malone and Nash have each won the award twice).

James earned 85 first-place votes and 1,074 total points, finishing 185 points ahead of runner-up Kevin Durant in voting. According to multiple metrics, James was the clear choice.

With James on the court, the Heat outscored opponents by 474 points during the regular season, giving James the highest plus-minus rating in the league. James has led the NBA in plus-minus each of the last four seasons since Paul Pierce had an NBA-best +784 rating in 2007-08.

James also led all players in estimated wins added, a metric that estimates the number of wins a player adds to a team over the course of a season above what would be expected from a "replacement" player. The concept is similar to wins above replacement (WAR) in baseball.

James is estimated to have added 23.5 wins to the Heat's season total this season. The top three in estimated wins added mirrored the top three finishers in MVP voting, with Durant (20.0) ranking second and Chris Paul (17.5) coming in third.