The King’s New Ride
Monday night, LeBron James received the Maurice Podoloff Trophy for the second time in as many years. The hardware is presented each year to the NBA’s Most Valuable Player. Being the MVP means different things to different people, but it is generally accepted that the award will go to the player who has proven himself to be the best of the best. It is the result of dedication, supreme talent and favorable on-court results. So few people achieve the honor that being named MVP almost certainly guarantees basketball immortality via enshrinement in the Hall of Fame.
So it’s a little puzzling that its winner would receive a Kia.
In an era where an NBAer driving a normal car makes headlines (we see you, Young Money), it would be unimaginable that the best player in the league would be caught dead in the Kia Sorento that was promised to this year’s winner. The vehicle is described by Car and Driver Magazine as “decent-looking and competitively equipped and … well screwed together.” A commendable effort by the Korean car company, but it doesn’t come close to matching the luxury whips that we’re accustomed to seeing the stars drive. Heck, LeBron showed up to the MVP press conference in a Maybach and has his own customized Ferrari.
Before you start in with your comments, let me point out a few things. Yes, I realize that they only reason this car is offered is because Kia sponsored the MVP award. Never mind the ridiculousness of Kia attaching its name to the Podoloff, money talks. And if you pay the NBA in these financially lean times, they’ll let you do those sorts of things.
I also know that David Stern didn’t hand LeBron a set of keys along with the trophy. The car has been donated to charity, where it should find its way to a family that will put it to good use instead of shamefully stashing it in a garage where it will do minimal damage to anyone’s baller reputation.
I’m not saying that it’s a bad vehicle. I’ve never driven a Kia, much less a Sorento, so I can’t speak to its quality. (If the company wants to remedy that, I accept gifts of all kinds.) I’m just saying that it can’t hold a candle to the flashier and more extravagant rides that the best are seen in.
Perhaps the league should consider rewarding its stars with products they’ll use. I can’t see Trojan and Miami Ink shelling out the necessary dough, but it’s something to think about.