Gateway: Sports

No question about NBA’s most valuable player

The NBA Most Valuable Player vote is flawed. All throughout the season, the main names thrown out for MVP consideration were Steph Curry, James Harden and Russell Westbrook. Hardly anyone mentioned LeBron James, who put a putrid Cleveland team on his back and took them to the NBA Finals.

The problem with the MVP award is there’s little actual emphasis on value, and too much emphasis on scoring. Especially in a league where no one really plays any defense during the way-too-long regular season, measuring a player’s value simply by points per game is flawed.

Golden State’s Steph Curry won the MVP award, and he deserved to be in the conversation, undoubtedly. The sharp-shooter led Golden State with 23.8 points per game, 7.7 assists and 2.04 steals, and shot 44.3 percent from beyond the 3-point arc during the regular season. The Warriors finished with a 67-15 record in the regular season, by far the best mark in the NBA.

But after watching the first two games of the NBA Finals, it’s obvious to me who’s the most valuable player in the world. LeBron James, hands down. Missing two All-Stars to injury, James willed his team to a thrilling Game 2 win in Oakland. James led the Cavaliers with 39 points, 16 rebounds and 11 assists.

While I expect Curry to bounce back after a dismal performance in Game 2 , and Golden State to win the series against a depleted Cavs roster, it’s hard to be objective and say Curry is a more valuable player than James.

Look at it this way: If you’re building a team around one player in the NBA, who are you going with? James, eight days a week.

AMERICAN PHAROAH WINS THE TRIPLE CROWN

The possibility of a Triple Crown in horse racing is always special. When Frank Sinatra’s “New York, New York” played over the speakers at Belmont Park and the cameras scanned the crowd, I could feel the buzz and anticipation through my TV on Saturday.

American Pharoah and jockey Victor Espinoza completed horse racing’s most impressive accomplishment: winning the Triple Crown (The Kentucky Derby, Preakness and Belmont Stakes).

Pharoah became the 12th Triple Crown winner and the first in 37 years — the last Crown winner was Affirmed, in 1978. The most impressive part of the race was how comfortably Pharoah won. After jumping out to an immediate lead, there was never much of a doubt.

Perhaps the craziest thing I read after the race was that Secretariat’s Belmont Stakes time would’ve beat American Pharoah by 15 lengths. Secretariat’s 1973 race holds the track record at 2 minutes, 24.00 seconds.

My favorite part of the race was Larry Collmus’ race call. I can’t imagine it’s easy calling horse racing, and trying to deliver a call that matches the historical significance of winning the first Triple Crown in 37 years is a tall task to say the least, but Collmus nailed it.

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