Phoenix has four of the best 30 guys in the league. Dallas has one. Which team would you rather play for?

Issue No. 2: Did people vote for Nash because he was white?

In a roundabout way. The bottom line is that it's fun to root for Nash. He's running around like Tanner Boyle out there, has the floppy hair and the Energizer Bunny motor, makes those throwback plays (like the lefty hook over Nowitzki), makes his teammates better and always handles himself with class. Given the way he plays, and that he's a white star in a predominantly black league, he stands out more than anyone else on the court in any given game. Plus, he was the biggest new wrinkle in the league. Nobody wants to read "Wow, Shaq is still great!" columns. A "Steve Nash is fun to watch, why can't he be the MVP?" column is infinitely more interesting. So that's how it started and everything snowballed from there. Just for the record, the same thing would have happened if he looked like Earl Boykins. People are always going to gravitate towards an underdog. Always.

Because Shaq battled injuries during the second half of the season, and Dwyane Wade was so freaking good, there were just enough holes in the "Shaq for MVP" campaign that it opened the door for Nash, as well as a slew of "It's been such a delight to watch someone this unselfish who handles himself with so much class" columns, a nice way of saying, "I'm glad he's not one of those me-first guys with tons of tattoos who pounds his chest after every good play."

Well, why weren't there as many "It's been such a delight to watch someone this unselfish who handles himself with so much class" columns and features about Wade until this past week? Is it really breaking news to people that Dwyane Wade is a great player and a great guy? You didn't watch the 20-25 games that Wade took over at crunch-time during the season, or all the times he put Miami on his back with Shaq out? It took until after Round 2 of the playoffs for Wade to receive some long-overdue hype. Where was this stuff four months ago?

Here's the bottom line: Shaq's old team won 22 games less without him. Shaq's new team won 17 games more with him. If the Miami-L.A. trade never happened, the Lakers would have won between 55-60 games (like they always did) and Miami would have struggled to win 45-50. Also, Damon Jones wouldn't have signed there, and there's no way Dooling, Anderson, Laettner and Mourning would have taken massive paycuts. Why doesn't Shaq get credit for these things? How can someone so dominant end up winning one MVP over the past 13 years? You don't think there has been a bias against Shaq over the years? He's almost like the 12-year-old in Little League who's freakishly bigger than everyone else, so the other parents hate him and he ends up not making the All-Star team. And if you didn't vote for Shaq this year because you felt Wade was the best player on Miami, that's fine. But that leads to our next issue …

Issue No. 3: How do you define an NBA MVP?



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