Russell Westbrook and James Harden have had tremendous seasons. Before this year, there had never been a 50-point triple double in NBA history. Each of them have two this season. It’s as if the two are competing in the 1988 Slam Dunk contest, trying to one-up the other. Dominique vs Jordan was legendary.
Down the stretch, Westbrook and Harden has been equally thrilling. The thing is, there was a winner in the dunk contest: Jordan.
There’s a whiff of Burr-Hamilton in this NBA MVP showdown. You know, the classic duel that took place in 1804. I’m not quite sure how Lebron and Kawhi Leonard fit into this analogy. But Aaron Burr (the sitting Vice President!) ended up shooting and killing Alexander Hamilton. Again, there was a winner.
You need a winner in the MVP race. In competition, you have a winner and a loser. The decision will spur more debate, which is certainly better than having to split the award. I’d like to add that splitting the MVP is highly unlikely to happen, since the variance will be so wide. A few weeks ago, I had Harden 1st and Westbrook 4th. Surely others did as well.
I love the NBA, I watch it as much as possible, and I play basketball multiple times a week. I’ve spoken to many people about the MVP situation, and nobody has said, “they should give it to Westbrook and Harden.” But if you go online, where the audience is younger and less demanding, you’ll see plenty of “Co-MVP” and “share the award” talk.
No competitor thinks like that.
But in the social media age, the time when millennials all get participation trophies, there is plenty of talk about whether Harden and Westbrook should split the award. To me, that’d be awful. You vote. A winner is declared. And you move on to the playoffs.
I know Adam Silver wants to please everybody, but you just can’t do that. Don’t split the award, NBA.