Sunday’s ceremony was filled with tributes and even some laughs, like when James’ younger son Bryce posed for photographers on stage while his father was speaking and older brother LeBron Jr. looked on — and when James’ fiancee, Savannah Brinson, appeared on a congratulatory video and called him “Honeybunny.”
“I know you’re embarrassed when I call you that,” Brinson said. “But whatever.”
Over on the far side of the dais, set up on the floor of the Heat home court, James’ teammates roared in hysterics — and Udonis Haslem made sure James knew that they were talking about Brinson’s pet name for her future husband. The 14 other Heat players were dressed casually in team garb, while James donned a dapper suit for the festivities.
As he did on Saturday, a day after it became widely known that the award would be his again, James thanked his teammates.
“I’d rather be sitting over there in shorts and a T-shirt, wondering what the hell they’re joking about, because I want to be a part of that joke,” James said. “And I hate being out of all the jokes. I want to know what was happening, OK, guys? I would much rather be with my guys over there because that’s what it’s all about. Without those guys, this trophy is not possible.”
Much of the ceremony was tinged with emotion.
Brinson’s mother dabbed tears away from her eyes when James thanked his soon-to-be in-laws for what they do for his family. Dwyane Wade (who was 10th in the voting) spoke in a hushed tone on the video, with soft music playing in the background as he told James to “continue to lead this team because we believe in you, so congratulations, Mr. MVP.” James seemed genuinely touched when dozens of students who are part of his “I Promise” educational program chanted for him when the proceedings were complete.
“And all the ones that I’ve observed and I’ve watched and I’ve seen, somewhere they’ve always gotten better,” said Heat President Pat Riley, talking about all the game’s stars that he’s witnessed in his 46 NBA years. “They always got better as their career advanced. And most importantly, they’ve always made their teammates and their team better. In my humble opinion … I think the man that we’re looking at right here is the best of all of them.”
James was the only player in the NBA to lead his team in scoring, rebounding and assists per game this season, had a record six straight games of scoring at least 30 points while shooting at least 60 percent, became the youngest player in league history to break the 20,000-career-point plateau and won five of the six Eastern Conference player of the month awards.
James is now the second player in NBA history to post at least 2,000 points, 600 rebounds, 500 assists and 100 steals in a season twice, joining Larry Bird, who did it three times. The only other player to do it once was Jordan.
“Four now,” Heat managing general partner Micky Arison said. “And more to come.”