(Reuters) - Miami Heat forward LeBron James was named the National Basketball Association’s Most Valuable Player for the 2012-13 season on Sunday.
James received 120 first-place votes from the panel of 121 sports writers and broadcasters selected to choose the award. Oklahoma’s Kevin Durant finished second overall and the New York Knicks’ Carmelo Anthony, who received the other first-place vote, placed third.
It was the fourth time in five years that the 28-year-old James had won the game’s most prestigious individual award, elevating him among the sport’s greatest players.
“When people ask me, I tell them I just try to be the best player on the court every night I step on the floor,” James said.
Only four other players - Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Michael Jordan, Bill Russell and Wilt Chamberlain - have won the trophy at least four times.
Abdul-Jabbar holds the record for six MVP wins, one ahead of Jordan and Russell and two in front of Chamberlain and now James.
James, who twice won the award with the Cleveland Cavaliers before moving to Miami, averaged 26.8 points, 8.0 rebounds and 7.3 assists during the 2012-13 regular season, where the Heat finished with the best record in the NBA.
James was the only player in the NBA to lead his team in all three categories during the season.
He shot a career-high from the field (.565) and from three-point range (.406). He produced a record streak of six straight games with at least 30 points and a .600-or-better field goal percentage.
He received his award at a special presentation on Sunday, attended by his team mates, family and friends, and broadcast live on national television.
In an emotional and heartfelt acceptance speech, James extended his thanks to everyone who had supported him both as a person and as a player.
He turned to his team mates, who were wearing shorts and t-shirts, and said they deserved the award as much as he did,
“Nothing I receive individually is possible without those 14 guys, and the sacrifices they make,” he said.
“This really doesn’t mean much to me. I‘m humbled and I‘m happy about it but I wish it was 15 of these up here because what a great group of guys that allows me to be the MVP.”
Reporting by Julian Linden in New York; Editing by Gene Cherry