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NBA: James says he's humbled to become 4-time MVP

Published May 4, 2013 6:38 pm

NBA • James will become the fifth player to win at least four MVP awards.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Miami • Miami Heat practice had ended, and LeBron James lingered under a basket, fetching free throws for two teammates as he awaited his turn to shoot.

At the other end of the gym, Dwyane Wade shook his head as he watched the NBA's most valuable of players engage in the most mundane of drills.

"He doesn't — you can see him — rest on his greatness," Wade said. "He continues to work at it. That's what makes him special. He leaves nothing to chance."

The formal announcement of James' fourth Most Valuable Player award is planned for Sunday, the eve of the Eastern Conference semifinals for the Heat. The honor will vault him into an elite category shared by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Michael Jordan, Bill Russell and Wilt Chamberlain, the only other players to win the award at least four times.

James said he was humbled to keep such company.

"I'm a historian of the game," he said. "I know the game. I know these guys paved the way for myself and the rest of us."

James' other MVPs came in 2009, 2010 and 2012. He and Russell are the only players to win the award four times in five years, and he and Abdul-Jabbar are the only players to win the award twice in consecutive seasons.

At age 28, James isn't resting on his laurels. That's why he kept shooting with teammates Ray Allen and Mario Chalmers after practice Saturday while the other Heat players headed for the showers.

"I don't know my ceiling," James said. "I don't stop trying to improve my game — just like today, being in here with Rio and Ray, the last guys to leave the court. I want to continue to maximize what I have."

James said his primary goal remains helping the Heat win a second consecutive NBA title. They're scheduled to open their conference semifinals series at home Monday against the winner of the series between Chicago and Brooklyn, which went to Game 7 on Saturday night. —