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James finished second on five ballots and two writers placed him third. A year ago, James received 109 of 122 first-place votes.
James finished with 1,205 points, nearly doubling Durant (609). His margin of victory is the second largest in history, topped by only O'Neal, who won by 799 points in 2000. His first-place total was also the most since Kevin Garnett got 120 of 123 in 2004.
James joined Bill Russell, Wilt Chamberlain, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Moses Malone, Larry Bird, Magic Johnson, Michael Jordan, Tim Duncan and Steve Nash on a who's-who list of back-to-back winners.
"Those are guys I looked up to growing up," he said. "To be in that same category is an unbelievable feat."
For the second straight year, James chose to have the award ceremony his hometown of Akron.
Last May, he returned to St. Vincent-St. Mary High School and received the award in the quaint gymnasium in front of family, friends and the student body. He moved it to a larger but still familiar stage, opting for Rhodes -- or the JAR, as it is known -- on Akron's campus, where he also played in high school.
The ceremony was open to the public, and hundreds of fans, a few of whom slept out overnight and many wearing an assortment of No. 23 James jerseys, stood in line for hours for their chance to witness yet another coronation of Ohio's basketball king.
James considered holding the ceremony in the school's new football stadium but was afraid the weather might not cooperate.
"We didn't want it to rain on my parade," he said.
James arrived fashionably late, riding in the back of a Maybach Zeppelin. He was greeted with screams from fans lining the sidewalk as he got out of the expensive ride, looking resplendent in a gray suit, blue shirt and sunglasses that weren't needed on an overcast day.
When he finally took the stage along with Cavs coach Mike Brown, general manager Danny Ferry and owner Dan Gilbert, James was serenaded with chants of "M-V-P" by a crowd estimated at 3,000. Winning a second MVP wasn't necessarily a goal. He does have another in mind.
"The only reason I do what I do on the court is to compete for an NBA championship," he said. "I understand that until I won that I won't go down as one of the greatest players ever. That's my only goal right now. This is the closest I've been to it."
Copyright 2010 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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