- The Washington Times - Tuesday, May 5, 2009

From combined dispatches

Unstoppable at both ends of the floor this season, LeBron James claimed league MVP honors Monday, receiving the award in the high school gym where he first emerged on the national scene.

“This is a place where all my dreams started and where I thought they could become real,” James said in accepting the award at St. Vincent-St. Mary High School. “There’s really not a better place.”

The Cleveland Cavaliers star won what some expected to be a close vote in a slam dunk. He received 109 of a possible 121 first-place votes to outdistance Kobe Bryant of the Los Angeles Lakers. James totaled 1,172 points in balloting by media members in the United States and Canada.

James is the first Cavaliers player to win the award. He averaged 28.4 points, 7.6 rebounds and 7.2 assists this season, his sixth as a pro. He also finished second in voting for defensive player of the year, making him perhaps the league’s most dominant two-way player since Michael Jordan.

James credited his teammates, who along with coach Mike Brown were present to see him accept the award, for raising their games in the Cavaliers’ best season in franchise history.

“Individual accolades come when team success happens,” James said. “You look at those 14 guys over there, I got the award because of them. They put in the work.”

At 24 years, 106 days on the final day of the regular season, James is the youngest player to win the award since Moses Malone (24 years, 16 days) in 1978-79. Wes Unseld was 23 when he won it in 1968-69.

“I’m 24 years old. To be up here and win this MVP award, I never thought it would happen this fast. I always dreamed about celebrating championships with teammates,” James said.

NUGGETS: The NBA fined Denver forward Kenyon Martin $25,000 for throwing Dallas forward Dirk Nowitzki to the floor in the opener of their second-round playoff series.

Martin was also assessed a flagrant foul 1 for the contact, which occurred with 5:51 left in the first quarter of Sunday’s game, after Nowitzki had scored Dallas’ first 10 points on 5-for-5 shooting.

Nowitzki said after the game he didn’t have a problem with the foul, calling it “just a hard playoff foul.”

NETS: Guard Keyon Dooling had successful arthroscopic hip surgery to remove loose particles from his right hip.

The surgery was performed by Drs. Bryan Kelly and Riley Williams at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York City. Dooling will begin rehabilitation in several days and is expected to be ready for the beginning of the 2009-10 season.

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