LeBron James has finally been dethroned as the league’s MVP, as Kevin Durant collected his first ever Maurice Podoloff trophy this morning when the NBA formally announced him as the 2014 winner. After winning back-to-back awards and four out of the last five seasons (only other player to do so not named the great Bill Russell), LeBron will be watching the sidelines for the pending presentation of Durant’s biggest award to date.
The lanky Oklahoma City Thunder forward saw a career year averaging 32 points per game, 12 straight games where he scored 30-plus points and a career-high of 54 points against the Golden State Warriors back in January. Along with James, Durant beat out Blake Griffin, Joakim Noah and James Harden for the top 5 vote getters. He also became the first player since Allen Iverson (2000-2001) to win both the scoring title and MVP award in the same season.
Hit the jump for more on the story and video of his very moving MVP speech.
In recent weeks, he’s been constantly attacked by the media, even being called ‘Mr. Unreliable’ but has been trying to end speculation of his alleged under-performing postseason play. Over the weekend, he avoided being the first MVP winner to get knocked out of the first round, following Dirk Nowitzki’s 2007 season against the Warriors where he was sent home. After a game 7 victory against the Memphis Grizzlies on Saturday, his Thunder held game 1 of their conference semi-finals match-up against the Los Angeles Clippers last night, who routed them with a nearly 20-point blowout victory. While the Thunder have plans to regroup before their must-win game 2 tomorrow night, Durant’s MVP announcement today is somewhat bitter sweet.