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National Basketball Association awards and honors
Championship
Individual awards
Honors

The Bill Russell NBA Finals Most Valuable Player Award (formerly known as the NBA Finals Most Valuable Player Award) is an annual National Basketball Association (NBA) award given since the 1969 NBA Finals. The award is decided by a panel of eleven media members, who cast votes after the conclusion of the Finals. The person with the highest number of votes wins the award.[1] The award was originally a black trophy with a gold basketball-shaped sphere at the top, similar to the Larry O'Brien Trophy, until a new trophy was introduced in 2005 to commemorate Bill Russell.[2][3]

Since its inception, the award has been given to 31 different players. Michael Jordan is a record six-time award winner.[4] Magic Johnson, Shaquille O'Neal, Tim Duncan and LeBron James won the award three times in their careers. Jordan and O'Neal are the only players to win the award in three consecutive seasons (Jordan accomplished the feat on two separate occasions). Johnson is the only rookie ever to win the award,[5] as well as the youngest at 20 years old.[6] Andre Iguodala is the only winner to have not started every game in the series.[7] Jerry West, the first ever awardee, is the only person to win the award while being on the losing team in the NBA Finals.[4] Willis Reed, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Larry Bird, Hakeem Olajuwon, Kobe Bryant, and Kevin Durant won the award twice. Olajuwon, Durant, Bryant, and James have won the award in two consecutive seasons. Abdul-Jabbar and James are the only players to win the award for two different teams. Olajuwon of Nigeria, who became a naturalized U.S. citizen in 1993, Tony Parker of France, and Dirk Nowitzki of Germany are the only international players to win the award. Duncan is an American citizen, but is considered an "international" player by the NBA because he was not born in one of the fifty states or Washington, D.C.[8] Parker and Nowitzki are the only winners to have been trained totally outside the U.S.; Olajuwon played college basketball at Houston and Duncan at Wake Forest. Cedric Maxwell is the only Finals MVP winner eligible for the Hall of Fame who has not been voted in.[9]

On February 14, 2009, during the 2009 NBA All-Star Weekend in Phoenix, then-NBA Commissioner David Stern announced that the award would be renamed the "Bill Russell NBA Finals Most Valuable Player Award" in honor of 11-time NBA champion Bill Russell.[10]

Winners[edit]

head shot of Jerry West
Jerry West, the inaugural recipient, is the only player to win the award while being on the losing team.
head shot of Magic Johnson
Magic Johnson is the only player to win the award as a rookie.
head shot of Michael Jordan
Michael Jordan has won the award a record six times.
Shaquille O'Neal is the only player other than Michael Jordan to have won the award three times consecutively.
Tony Parker (bottom) is the first non-American player to win the award.
LeBron James (pictured) and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar are the only players to win the award for two different teams.
^ Denotes player who is still active in the NBA
* Elected to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame
§ Player's team lost the NBA Finals
Player (X) Denotes the number of times the player has received the Finals MVP award
Team (X) Denotes the number of times a player from this team has received the Finals MVP award
Year Player Position Nationality Team
1969 Jerry West* Guard  United States Los Angeles Lakers §
1970 Willis Reed* Center/Forward  United States New York Knicks
1971 Lew Alcindor*[a] Center  United States Milwaukee Bucks
1972 Wilt Chamberlain* Center  United States Los Angeles Lakers (2)
1973 Willis Reed* (2) Center/Forward  United States New York Knicks (2)
1974 John Havlicek* Forward/Guard  United States Boston Celtics
1975 Rick Barry* Forward  United States Golden State Warriors
1976 Jo Jo White* Guard  United States Boston Celtics (2)
1977 Bill Walton* Center  United States Portland Trail Blazers
1978 Wes Unseld* Center/Forward  United States Washington Bullets
1979 Dennis Johnson* Guard  United States Seattle SuperSonics
1980 Magic Johnson*[b] Guard  United States Los Angeles Lakers (3)
1981 Cedric Maxwell Forward  United States Boston Celtics (3)
1982 Magic Johnson* (2) Guard  United States Los Angeles Lakers (4)
1983 Moses Malone* Center  United States Philadelphia 76ers
1984 Larry Bird* Forward  United States Boston Celtics (4)
1985 Kareem Abdul-Jabbar*[c] (2) Center  United States Los Angeles Lakers (5)
1986 Larry Bird* (2) Forward  United States Boston Celtics (5)
1987 Magic Johnson* (3) Guard  United States Los Angeles Lakers (6)
1988 James Worthy* Forward  United States Los Angeles Lakers (7)
1989 Joe Dumars* Guard  United States Detroit Pistons
1990 Isiah Thomas* Guard  United States Detroit Pistons (2)
1991 Michael Jordan* Guard  United States Chicago Bulls
1992 Michael Jordan* (2) Guard  United States Chicago Bulls (2)
1993 Michael Jordan* (3) Guard  United States Chicago Bulls (3)
1994 Hakeem Olajuwon* Center  United States[d] Houston Rockets
1995 Hakeem Olajuwon* (2) Center  United States[d] Houston Rockets (2)
1996 Michael Jordan* (4) Guard  United States Chicago Bulls (4)
1997 Michael Jordan* (5) Guard  United States Chicago Bulls (5)
1998 Michael Jordan* (6) Guard  United States Chicago Bulls (6)
1999 Tim Duncan[e] Forward/Center  United States San Antonio Spurs
2000 Shaquille O'Neal* Center  United States Los Angeles Lakers (8)
2001 Shaquille O'Neal* (2) Center  United States Los Angeles Lakers (9)
2002 Shaquille O'Neal* (3) Center  United States Los Angeles Lakers (10)
2003 Tim Duncan (2) Forward/Center  United States[e] San Antonio Spurs (2)
2004 Chauncey Billups Guard  United States Detroit Pistons (3)
2005 Tim Duncan (3) Forward/Center  United States[e] San Antonio Spurs (3)
2006 Dwyane Wade^ Guard  United States Miami Heat
2007 Tony Parker^ Guard  France[f] San Antonio Spurs (4)
2008 Paul Pierce Forward  United States Boston Celtics (6)
2009 Kobe Bryant Guard  United States Los Angeles Lakers (11)
2010 Kobe Bryant (2) Guard  United States Los Angeles Lakers (12)
2011 Dirk Nowitzki^ Forward  Germany Dallas Mavericks
2012 LeBron James^ Forward  United States Miami Heat (2)
2013 LeBron James^ (2) Forward  United States Miami Heat (3)
2014 Kawhi Leonard^ Forward  United States San Antonio Spurs (5)
2015 Andre Iguodala^ Forward/Guard  United States Golden State Warriors (2)
2016 LeBron James^ (3) Forward  United States Cleveland Cavaliers
2017 Kevin Durant^ Forward  United States Golden State Warriors (3)
2018 Kevin Durant^ (2) Forward  United States Golden State Warriors (4)

Multi-time winners[edit]

Player Team(s) No. Years
Michael Jordan Chicago Bulls 6 1991, 1992, 1993, 1996, 1997, 1998
Magic Johnson Los Angeles Lakers 3 1980, 1982, 1987
Shaquille O'Neal Los Angeles Lakers 2000, 2001, 2002
Tim Duncan San Antonio Spurs 1999, 2003, 2005
LeBron James Miami Heat (2), Cleveland Cavaliers (1) 2012, 2013, 2016
Willis Reed New York Knicks 2 1970, 1973
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Milwaukee Bucks, Los Angeles Lakers 1971, 1985
Larry Bird Boston Celtics 1984, 1986
Hakeem Olajuwon Houston Rockets 1994, 1995
Kobe Bryant Los Angeles Lakers 2009, 2010
Kevin Durant Golden State Warriors 2017, 2018

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Before the 1971–72 season, Lew Alcindor changed his name to Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.[11]
  2. ^ At 20 years and 276 days old, Johnson is the youngest Finals MVP winner in history.[12]
  3. ^ At 38 years and 54 days old, Abdul-Jabbar is the oldest Finals MVP winner in history.[13]
  4. ^ a b Hakeem Olajuwon was born in Nigeria, but became a naturalized United States citizen in 1993.[14]
  5. ^ a b c Because Tim Duncan is a United States citizen by birth, as are all natives of the U.S. Virgin Islands,[15] he was able to play for the U.S. internationally.[16]
  6. ^ Tony Parker was born in Belgium. He holds French citizenship and plays for their national team.[17]

References[edit]

General
Specific
  1. ^ "Kevin Durant Wins 2017 NBA Finals MVP After Winning 1st Title with Warriors". Bleacher Report. Retrieved June 17, 2017. 
  2. ^ "Game 5 Notebook: Billups Wins MVP". NBA/Turner Sports Interactive, Inc. Retrieved July 16, 2008. 
  3. ^ "Spurs crowned NBA champions". CBC Sports. June 24, 2005. Retrieved July 16, 2008. 
  4. ^ a b "Finals Most Valuable Player". NBA/Turner Sports Interactive, Inc. Retrieved July 14, 2008. 
  5. ^ "Magic Johnson Bio". NBA/Turner Sports Interactive, Inc. Retrieved October 21, 2010. 
  6. ^ Scott, Nate (June 16, 2014). "Kawhi Leonard is third youngest NBA Finals MVP ever". USA Today. Archived from the original on June 16, 2014. 
  7. ^ Strauss, Ethan Sherwood (June 16, 2015). "Andre Iguodala named Finals MVP after coming off bench to begin series". ESPN.com. Archived from the original on June 17, 2015. 
  8. ^ "Bargnani becomes first European top NBA draft pick". People's Daily Online. June 29, 2006. Retrieved June 16, 2008. 
  9. ^ https://sports.yahoo.com/news/nba--danny-green-spurs-nba-finals-3-pointers-cedric-maxwell-224343936.html
  10. ^ "The Finals MVP to Receive Bill Russell MVP Award". NBA/Turner Sports Interactive, Inc. February 14, 2009. Archived from the original on February 17, 2009. Retrieved February 14, 2009. 
  11. ^ "Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Bio". NBA. Retrieved August 4, 2008. 
  12. ^ "Magic Johnson 1979-80 Game Log". basketball-reference. Retrieved 17 May 2016. 
  13. ^ "Kareem Abdul-Jabbar 1984-85 Game Log". basketball-reference. Retrieved 17 May 2016. 
  14. ^ "Hakeem Olajuwon Bio: 1992-93". NBA.com. Turner Sports Interactive, Inc. Archived from the original on May 16, 2008. Retrieved June 15, 2008. 
  15. ^ "Virgin Islands". CIA World Factbook. Retrieved August 12, 2008. 
  16. ^ "All-Time USA Basketball Men's Roster: D". USA Basketball. Archived from the original on August 28, 2009. Retrieved June 16, 2008. 
  17. ^ "Parker will be speedy foe for Nets". Sports Illustrated. Time Warner Company. June 2, 2003. Retrieved October 17, 2010. 

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