- Associated Press - Friday, May 11, 2012

MIAMI — Calling the honor “overwhelming” but pointing to a “bigger goal,” LeBron James on Saturday became the eighth player in NBA history to win the MVP award three times.

James accepted the trophy and will get to show it off to Miami Heat fans Sunday afternoon when he’s presented with the prize again by Commissioner David Stern before Miami faces Indiana in Game 1 of an Eastern Conference semifinal series.

Heat nation, we have a bigger goal,” James said. “This is very overwhelming to me as an individual award. But this is not the award I want, ultimately. I want that championship. That’s all that matters to me.”

James won the award for the third time in four seasons. Only Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Michael Jordan, Bill Russell, Wilt Chamberlain, Larry Bird, Magic Johnson and Moses Malone have won at least that many MVP trophies.

Abdul-Jabbar won six times, Jordan and Russell five times each, Chamberlain four times. Now, they’re the only players with more than James.

“We love you,” Heat President Pat Riley told James during the ceremony. “Not just because of this, but because of what you mean to our organization.”

James received 85 of a possible 121 first-place votes from a panel of sports writers and broadcasters who cover the league, as well as one collective fan vote on NBA.com. He finished with 1,074 points, topping Oklahoma City’s Kevin Durant (889 points, 24 first-place votes), the Los Angeles Clippers’ Chris Paul (385, six first-place votes), the Los Angeles Lakers’ Kobe Bryant (352, two first-place votes), and San Antonio’s Tony Parker (331, four first-place votes).

James credited several of the league’s best players for being part of his inspiration to play at the highest level.

“We do not take LeBron James for granted, not here in this organization,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said.

And he apparently does not take the organization for granted, either.

James‘ voice broke a couple of times as he spoke, and he confessed he was more nervous than he anticipated. James relayed a story about his reaction when the news broke publicly Friday night, telling family he was with at the time that “this is crazy.”

“I see my two sons, I do what I do and I try to perform at the highest level every night, and a big part of the reason is those guys. I don’t want to let them down,” James said, pausing for a brief moment as he looked at fiancée Savannah Brinson and his sons. “Secondly, my teammates, like I said. The reason I’m up here today is because of those guys. If those guys don’t sacrifice what they sacrifice every single night … I wouldn’t be up here.”

Moments later, he asked the entire Heat roster to join him on the stage, and they huddled behind him.

“These 14 guys right here, they give everything,” James said. “And they give me everything.”

James averaged 27.1 points, 7.9 rebounds and 6.2 assists — making him only the fourth player with those totals in at least two seasons, according to STATS LLC, joining Oscar Robertson (five times), John Havlicek (twice) and Bird (twice).

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