Let's see your valuables, sir
By Ric Bucher
ESPN The Magazine
Anybody else sick of the MVP race already? I haven't even filled out my ballot and I don't want to read, hear or say another word on the subject. Being the kind of guy who finds self-inflicted pain interesting, naturally I volunteered to write a column on the subject.
This year, it seems, the MVP conversation began two weeks into the season and has never let up. Remember when Elton Brand was a front-runner back in December? Didn't even Andrei Kirilenko get a mention after the Jazz bolted to that 4-2 start? Or was that his wife after ESPN The Magazine revealed her once-a-year-freebie for Andrei?
My point being: All the fuss about who is deserving and who isn't and what makes for an MVP and what doesn't is akin to debating what length of skirt turns a girl from sexy to a ****. No one ever has defined it and no one ever will. You eyeball the evidence and decide based on your personal tastes.
From all the conversations I've had on the MVP subject -- and, trust me, I've had five for every comment I've made on air or online -- MVP has a variety of meanings. For some, it's MEP, or the league's Most Excellent Player. For others, it's MVPOAWT, or Most Valuable Player on a Winning Team. Here's a popular one: MSIPOATTWBTE or Most Statistically Impressive Player on a Team That Was Better Than Expected. Generally, the easiest and safest pick is MVPOTBT: Most Valuable Player on the Best Team. This year has brought a new one to the mix: MDPDTSOATTFS, or Most Dominant Player Down the Stretch on a Team that Finished Strong. And, finally, there's MIP, or Most Indispensable Player, as in the guy whose team would absolutely fall apart without him.
If there's a reason to be particularly fed up with all the Let-me-tell-you-who-the-MVP chatter is this season, other than it has been going on all season and continues to mutate, that's precisely it. Without first defining MVP, and acknowledging that it's your definition and not necessarily anyone else's, it's like raging at your friends for not agreeing with your choice of Air Jordans.
So, for what it's worth, here are my choices for all of the above. And, yes, here's the disclaimer: These are my definitions. Acronymites, feel free to create your own, order your own hardware and have your own happy little award ceremony. The guy who eventually wins the real deal will not feel slighted, I promise you.
MEP --Kobe Bryant.
MVPOAWT -- Dwyane Wade.
MSIPOATTWBTE -- Elton Brand.
MVPOTBT -- Chauncey Billups.
MDPDTSOATTFS -- LeBron James.
MIP -- Steve Nash.
Of course, I might just ask my 3-year-old daughter, Chance, to draw five stick figures -- she just learned how -- and make my selections based on which NBA players they most resemble. The problem with that is, having seen her work, I might have to explain to the league office how Stromile Swift and Francisco Elson made my ballot.
And when it comes to self-inflicted pain, you have to draw the line somewhere.