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Barkley Has Beef With ESPN Over MVP...But Should He?

by Robbie Gillies
Barkley claims ESPN's analysts have been calling for Kobe Bryant to be MVP because "he hasn't won the MVP before." He thinks they are calling for Bryant to be MVP because of his full body of work, not just this season. Obviously, the MVP is a yearly award and not a lifetime achievement award, but does Barkley's claim have any basis? It's impossible to keep track of all opinions emanating out of Bristol, and I'm sure someone (Skip Bayless is the most likely candidate) has said something dumb like Barkley is claiming, but from recent articles, ESPN is not the one that is calling for Bryant to be MVP.

Jemele Hill recently wrote, "giving Kobe the MVP just because "it's his time" or "he's learned to be a team player" is a disservice."

Scoop Jackson wrote an article about why Bryant would not win MVP and never gives an opinion that Bryant should win it.

Barkley's beef should be with Yahoo! Sports columnist, Adrian Wojnarowski.

Bryant is an MVP. He’s been the best player, a three-time champion and voters must ask themselves: If I don’t vote for him this year, what will it ever take? His talent, his accomplishments, his place in history, command multiple MVPs.

Wojnarowski does directly addres Barkley's point:

No one needs historical context to make the case for Bryant this year. His season stands on its own. At 29, this isn’t a lifetime achievement award. Kobe is still the best of the best.

But, just two paragraphs later, he has this to say about Chris Paul:

He will have to go No. 2 on my ballot. He hasn’t been first-team All-NBA. He still hasn’t played in the postseason. His time is coming, and coming fast, but there’s time for Paul. Before Paul and LeBron James and maybe Dwyane Wade are 29 years old, they’ll probably have MVP trophies. Bryant’s wait has been long enough.

That's where he lost me. So, you're punishing Chris Paul because he is young? He is the leader on the best team in the West and is dealing with far less talent than Kobe has in Los Angeles. Bryant is the most talented player in the NBA (LeBron is closing the gap), but that doesn't mean we should hand him the MVP. Perhaps the NBA will need to give an award for MVP of the Decade and then we can celebrate Kobe Bryant as the best player in the '00's (noughties?) but, in the year 2008, Chris Paul should be the MVP.