So here's what we know: After one of the finest statistical seasons in history, LeBron James probably deserved to win the league's most valuable player in unanimous fashion this year. And he didn't, because some writers "went rogue" and voted for Dwight Howard and Kevin Durant. We know this.
We also know that many members of the Tea Party Movement are insanely ignorant.
Now, we could choose to get all upset about these things we know to be true, but ultimately, it's fighting a losing battle. Because people are dumb, and at any given time, with any mainstream debate, there's always an ocean of ignorance on the horizon.
Unless you reduce the voting populace that consists of 10-15 "experts," you're always going to have some people with the nerve to argue something completely absurd. Like, say, that LeBron was somehow second-best this year. And while Mike Prada's argument for broadening the voting base—and eliminating any team employees with votes—makes sense, it's not as if that'd make the process any more legitimate.
Even if you add more writers and make the process completely transparent, you'll still have a few guys every year that dissent from the majority opinion and make a public case for someone else.
At the end of the day, Most Valuable Player—like Coach of the Year and Rookie of the Year and Sixth Man of the Year and Most Improved Player and on and on—is a subjective award. What the award even means is subjective, but here's my interpretation: It's really not that different from an ESPY for "Play of the Year." Seriously. This is the NBA, where the only the award that matters gets bestowed in June. Winning the MVP is nice and an important recognition of a great season, but... Winning it this year won't matter to LeBron (or any NBA writers and fans) if he doesn't continue on to win the NBA Title.
Do you remember how many MVP awards Michael Jordan won? Or how many Karl Malone won? No? Well any basketball fan can recite of MJ's six titles from memory, and they know that, however many MVPs Malone brought home, he never won a title. Because that's the benchmark for greatness in the NBA. MVP awards, let alone awards like Sixth Man of the Year, are subjective and fun to debate, but that's really where their relevance ends.
As for the voting this year, not winning the award unanimously shouldn't be a reflection on LeBron's immaculate resume this year, no more than Tea Partiers' "proof" of Obama's fraudelent birth certificate should lead anyone to think that Barack is anything less than 100% American. If we give in and start seriously debating the fringe, everyone gets dumber.
And this is America, where free speech is a birthright. There will always be lunatics on the fringe.
So keep this in mind for this year's MVP debate and those of the future.
Awards are fun to argue about, and yeah, the process could be fine-tuned a little bit. But at the end of the day, we're arguing about ESPYs when the NBA's Academy Awards — the NBA playoffs — are playing out in front of our face. Let's not make the mistake of taking this stuff too seriously.
(photos via this fantastic Flickr slideshow)