NEW YORK Miami Heat forward LeBron James was named on Saturday as the National Basketball Association's Most Valuable Player for the 2011-12 season.
It was the third time in four years that the 27-year-old James had won the game's most prestigious individual award, elevating him among the sport's greatest players.
Only seven other players - Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Michael Jordan, Bill Russell, Wilt Chamberlain, Larry Bird, Magic Johnson and Moses Malone - have won the trophy at least three times.
Abdul-Jabbar holds the record for six MVP wins, one ahead of Jordan and Russell.
James, who twice won the award with the Cleveland Cavaliers before moving to Miami last season, averaged 27.1 points, 7.9 rebounds and 6.2 assists during the 2011-12 regular season, which was shortened to 66 games because of a labor dispute.
(Reporting by Julian Linden; Editing by Ken Ferris)