Friday, May 9, 2014

Best? Or Most Valuable?

Somewhere along the line, I think the acronym MVP began to take on a less nuanced definition akin to "best".

This creeping definition has lead to many debates among sports fans, and fueled arguments about who deserves an MVP award. Some support the player they see as best, while others focus on the definition of "valuable" and favor a player they feel contributes most to team success.

This year in the NBA, there was general consensus that LeBron James was the best player, and strong, simultaneous speculation that Kevin Durant would win the MVP. I found myself mystified by this, as I sit among those who would give the award to the "best" player. Frankly, I couldn't understand why Durant was so highly considered by so many knowledgeable fans of the game.

That all changed when he accepted the award with this 26 minute speech:

You imaginary readers know that I think that speeches matter, and Durant's acceptance speech made me cry. It was the kind of speech that can galvanize a team. It was the kind of speech that can motivate an entire organization. It was the kind of speech that can touch a community and pull millions of casual observers into the emotional vortex of a championship run. No ability to shoot, pass, or defend is more valuable than a speech like that.

Kevin Durant is the MVP.