James accepted the trophy and will get to show it off to Miami Heat fans Sunday afternoon when he's presented with the prize again by Commissioner David Stern before Miami faces Indiana in Game 1 of an Eastern Conference semifinal series.
''Heat nation, we have a bigger goal,'' James said. ''This is very overwhelming to me as an individual award. But this is not the award I want, ultimately. I want that championship. That's all that matters to me.''
James won the award for the third time in four seasons. Only Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Michael Jordan, Bill Russell, Wilt Chamberlain, Larry Bird, Magic Johnson and Moses Malone have won at least that many MVP trophies.
Abdul-Jabbar won six times, Jordan and Russell five times each, Chamberlain four times. Now, they're the only players with more than James.
''We love you,'' Heat President Pat Riley told James during the ceremony. ''Not just because of this, but because of what you mean to our organization.''
James received 85 of a possible 121 first-place votes from a panel of sports writers and broadcasters who cover the league, as well as one collective fan vote on NBA.com. He finished with 1,074 points, topping Oklahoma City's Kevin Durant (889 points, 24 first-place votes), the Los Angeles Clippers' Chris Paul (385, six first-place votes), the Los Angeles Lakers' Kobe Bryant (352, two first-place votes), and San Antonio's Tony Parker (331, four first-place votes).
James credited several of the league's best players for being part of his inspiration to play at the highest level.
''We do not take LeBron James for granted, not here in this organization,'' Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said.
And he apparently does not take the organization for granted, either.
James' voice broke a couple of times as he spoke, and he confessed he was more nervous than he anticipated. James relayed a story about his reaction when the news broke publicly Friday night, telling family he was with at the time that ''this is crazy.''