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Reigning league MVP, Kobe Bryant, scored 61 points against the New York Knicks February 2, 2009, now holding the record for the most points scored in Madison Square Garden. Not to mention that he only played 36 minutes. Two nights later, LeBron "King" James scored 52 points in MSG, adding 11 assists and 10 rebounds. He became the first player since Kareem Abdul-Jabbar in '75, to have a triple double while also scoring 50+ points. James and Bryant hold the 2nd and 3rd spot in leading points per game, behind Dwayne Wade, at 28.5 ppg and 27.5 ppg respectively. The Lakers and Cavaliers are also among the league's top four teams of the season. The race to become Most Valuable Player just got a little more interesting.

Kobe has three championship rings, but hasn't won a championship since 2002. The previous times he's been to the Finals, in 2004 and 2008, the Lakers have come up short. LBJ has only been once, and after a phenomenal series against Detroit, the Cavaliers were swept by the Spurs in 2007. Both players are amongst the best in the league, and both players are trying to lead his team to a championship. The Lakers began the 2008-2009 season with a 11-0 start before losing to Detroit at home, and then followed that game with another 7 game win streak. Right now they stand at 40-9 as the number one seed after beating the Boston Celtics in overtime. Cleveland began their 2008-2009 season at 1-2, losing to the Celtics and the Hornets. However, they finished out November with a 13-2 record. They are second in the league to the Lakers at 39-9. As tight as the Western Conference is, the Lakers have maintained their position as the top team, and with the new found toughness in the Eastern Conference, the Cavaliers have maintained the top 3 seeds, and have moved up almost daily. Although it is a team effort, and the other players deserve just as much recognition, one can't help but to single out the leaders of these two teams. If the Lakers and the Cavs were to meet in the Finals, the series would be epic, and even I can't make a prediction of a winner. Kobe is met with "MVP!" chants when shooting free throws in LA, and just about another other city (they chanted MVP in New York...you know, the 61 point game), but many Cleveland fans will argue that LeBron has been the better player this season. We are all witnesses to what LeBron can do on the court, but does being ringless hinder his chances? Kobe had to wait 12 seasons before he received it, so will LBJ have to wait just as long? If MVP is based on team records (which is highly likely since D. Wade holds the ppg record, but is often left out of the equation due to the Heat's record), then it should go to Kobe. However, if it is based on overall stats, as it should be, the choice is either or. LeBron might be better at one thing, while Kobe is better at another.

Both players were drafted right out of high school, and have had a great impact on the game of basketball. Both have also been coined "The Next Michael Jordan." However, with the intensity from both players this season, who deserves to win MVP the most? Kobe already has his, and more than likely will win another one, and LeBron deserves one just as much. If the trophy was given today, they would probably have to settle for co-MVP. The season is halfway over, and no one can say for sure which one will win it. We'll all just have to see how the second half of the season plays out to name the winner.

Written by:
Kateasa Blair