Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James admitted he was "pissed off" after finishing as runner-up to Milwaukee Bucks' Giannis Antetokounmpo in the MVP voting. Antetokounmpo, 25, claimed back-to-back NBA MVP awards, the league announced on Friday.
James, a four-time NBA MVP, received only 16 of 101 votes and ended up finishing as runner-up in MVP voting for the fourth time in his career. "Pissed me off. That's my true answer," James said, per ESPN. "It pissed me off, because out of 101 votes, I got 16 first-place votes.
That's what pissed me off more than anything. "You know, not saying that the winner wasn't deserving of the MVP. But that pissed me off. And I finished second a lot in my career, either from a championship, and now four times as an MVP."
But James insists getting better was his No. 1 priority when he came to the NBA
"I never came into this league to be MVP or to be a champion," James said. "I've always just wanted to get better and better every single day, and those things will take care of itself.
But some things is just out of my hand and some things you can't control. But it pissed me off." James, a three-time NBA champion, took a shot at the undefined criteria for the award. "I don't know how much we are really watching the game," James wondered aloud about the panel.
"I'm not going to sit up here and talk about what the criteria should be or what it is. It's changed over the years since I've gotten into the league," he said. "Sometimes it's the best player on the best team.
Sometimes it's the guy with the best season statistically. Sometimes ... I mean, you don't know. You don't know. But you know, Giannis had a hell of a season; I can definitely say that." In the 2012/2013 season -- the year when James won his fourth NBA MVP -- he finished as runner-up for the Defensive Player of the Year award.
"I had a chance to be Defensive Player of the Year and also MVP in the same season," James said. "And that year Gasol was Defensive Player of the Year, but he made second-team All-Defense, OK. So that doesn't make sense.
It's like being MVP of the league but you make second-team All-NBA. That's when I really started to look at things kind of like differently. I was like, how does that even make any sense?"