NBA: Bryant named MVP
By John Nadel
LOS ANGELES ó Finally, an MVP award for Kobe Bryant.
Regarded as the NBAís best player for several years but never its most valuable one, Bryant earned the honor Tuesday after leading the Los Angeles Lakers to the best record in the Western Conference.
He called the award a blessing and an honor and emphasized that he wants another trophy this year.
iItís Hollywood, itís a movie script,î Bryant said at a news conference attended by his teammates, club officials, his wife and two daughters. iThe perfect ending would be for us to hold a championship trophy at the end of it.
iThis is an award I couldnít have won on my own. I canít thank these guys (his teammates) enough. These are my guys; these are my brothers. Letís get ready for tomorrow.î
The Lakers will try to take a 2-0 lead against Utah in their conference semifinal series tonight. Bryant will receive the MVP trophy from commissioner David Stern before the game.
Bryant had finished as high as third in the MVP voting twice ó after the 2002-03 season, when he averaged 30 points for the first time, and last year, when Dallasí Dirk Nowitzki won.
iI donít know anybody whoís ever deserved this trophy more,î Lakers coach Phil Jackson said. iI donít know anybody whoís ever worked as hard to accomplish what heís accomplished.
Bryant received 82-first-place votes and 1,100 points in the media vote. He was followed by New Orleansí Chris Paul (28 and 894), Bostonís Kevin Garnett (15 and 670) and Clevelandís LeBron James (1 and 438).