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One NBA MVP voter switched from James Harden to Stephen Curry after hearing Warriors’ phone campaign

Dallas Mavericks v Golden State Warriors

Dallas Mavericks v Golden State Warriors

Noah Graham/NBAE/Getty Images

Warriors coach Steve Kerr panned the Rockets, saying, “If Daryl Morey wants to run his own one-man campaign for James Harden, he can do that. We’re focused on other stuff.”

Morey oversaw Harden’s MVP campaign, though it was hardly a one-man operation. Houston sent voters a hardcover video book, via Erik Horne of The Oklahoman:

The Rockets weren’t the only team mailing MVP trinkets.

The Pelicans sent out an Anthony Davis doll, via Marc Berman of the York Post:

And despite Kerr’s dismissal of campaigning, Golden State stumped on behalf of Stephen Curry – who will reportedly win the award.

Jeff Faraudo of the San Jose Mercury News:

The Warriors’ approach was old school: P.R. director Raymond Ridder’s staff phoned (or left messages for) all 120-plus media members with a vote, presenting the argument that Curry was the league’s most efficient star while leading his team that enjoyed a historic 67-win season.

And it worked! At least with one voter, Dan Woike of the Orange County Register.

Faraudo on Woike:

For his own purposes, he said he got clarity from his phone conversation with someone on Ridder’s staff.

“The question I came back to was they won 67 games. What else do you have to do to win the MVP?” said Woike, who initially planned to vote for Harden, then changed his mind. “I grew up in Chicago. The Warriors were five wins away from the 72-win Bulls. To me, that was more persuasive than any trinket a team could send.”

To be fair, Woike could have come to the same conclusion whether or not the Warriors called him. But it is interesting.

This was expected to be a tight race. It’d be even more interesting if Woike’s change of heart swung the result.

The bigger question: How many minds do teams change, consciously or subconsciously, through their campaigns? Voters always dismiss the effect, but here’s one case where it at least might have mattered.