NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — That’s a wrap on NBA Mystery Theater. Tune in next year.
The only voter who didn’t choose Miami Heat star LeBron James as the NBA’s Most Valuable Player believes Carmelo Anthony “meant more to his team” this season.
Gary Washburn of the Boston Globe said Anthony made the Knicks relevant again by leading them to their first division title in nearly two decades. Washburn’s explanation was published Monday, one day after James won his fourth MVP award.
“It obviously was not a popular vote but it was my right to vote that way,” Washburn wrote.
He added: “(T)his isn’t the Best Player in the Game award, it’s the Most Valuable Player award, and I think what Anthony accomplished this season was worthy of my vote.”
Washburn’s column ended a brief and puzzling who-done-it after James came in one vote shy of a historic unanimous selection.
On WFAN radio’s “Boomer & Carton” show Monday, Washburn said the reaction has been “mostly negative.”
And that’s an understatement.
“Mostly, you know, that I’m an idiot and that I don’t know what I’m talking about,” Washburn told WFAN co-hosts Boomer Esiason and Craig Carton. “But I’ll take that. I accept that. I don’t have any problems with it, you know? Respect my opinion, but I’ll take that.”
Deadspin fingered sportswriter and ESPN host Dan Le Batard as the culprit Sunday and later issued a correction — but the damage was already done. Le Batard wasn’t shy about retweeting the wrath he received in 140 characters or less.
Washburn insisted the Knicks would have missed the playoffs without Anthony, while the Heat have plenty of other talent besides James. Washburn also said that he believes James will eventually become the league’s first seven-time MVP and that his vote was “no LeBron conspiracy.”
“I had no idea I would be the only voter to leave LeBron out of first,” Washburn wrote. “This isn’t Mrs. Wilson’s class, I don’t walk around asking fellow sportswriters their answers to the US History quiz.”
James collected 120 of 121 first-place votes. The NBA has never had a unanimous MVP selection.
“When the voting was announced Sunday afternoon, I was flabbergasted to learn I was the lone voter among 121 to not give LeBron a first-place vote, truly believing Anthony, Kevin Durant, Chris Paul, and perhaps even Kobe Bryant would snag a first-place vote or two,” Washburn wrote.
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