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Fred Hickman recalls casting lone MVP vote not for Shaquille O'Neal

May 02, 2013|By Eric Pincus

LeBron James is the league's reigning NBA MVP and seems to be the favorite to win the award for the fourth time in five years.

Will the voting be unanimous?  If so, it will be the first time in the history of the award.

Former Lakers center Shaquille O'Neal came closest in 2001 with 120 of 121 possible votes.

Chris Tomasson of Fox Sports Florida caught up with Fred Hickman (formerly with CNN), who was the lone holdout -- casting his vote for Philadelphia 76ers guard Allen Iverson.

"It was crazy," Hickman told Tomasson. "I got death threats."

"Most valuable" is a subjective term. Should the award go to the most outstanding player in the league or the one who means the most to his specific team?

"I certainly didn't mean to be the lone one," said Hickman. "I picked the guy who was the most valuable to his team. Philadelphia without Iverson was a CBA team, and if the Lakers didn't have Shaq, they would have still been a pretty good team."

Hickman didn't know his vote would be the outlier or that he'd be publicly identified.

The league will announce the 2012-2013 MVP in the coming weeks. Although James seems the hands-down favorite, votes might be cast for Carmelo Anthony, Kevin Durant or Chris Paul.

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Email Eric Pincus at eric.pincus@gmail.com and follow him on Twitter @EricPincus.

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