Most MVP awards: Who is the most decorated player in the NBA?

Most MVP awards: Who is the most decorated player in the NBA?

NBA's Most Valuable Player (MVP) award is a prestigious honour given to the best performing player in a league season. The award was introduced in 1956 and was first won by Bob Pettit of the St. Louis Hawks. Since then, more players have won it, but who has the most MVP awards in history?

Most regular season MVPs in the NBA
Many legendary basketball players have won the NBA MVP award since 1956. Photo: Jeff Haynes, Bettmann, Chris Trotman, Ezra Shaw, Charles Hoff, Robert Gauthier (modified by author)
Source: Getty Images

Since its inception, only 15 players have bagged the prestigious prize more than once. So, who has the most MVPs in the NBA right now? Michael Jordan, LeBron James, and Kobe Bryant are among the most famous stars who have won the award.

Most MVP awards in the NBA

Who has the most MVPs in NBA history? Players who have won the award have built a lasting legacy in basketball. So, find out who has the most MVPs in the NBA's list below.

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PlayerMVP awards
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar6
Michael Jordan, Bill Russell5
LeBron James, Wilt Chamberlain4
Larry Bird, Magic Johnson, Moses Malone3
Nikola Jokic, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Stephen Curry, Tim Duncan, Steve Nash, Karl Malone, Bob Pettit2
James Harden, Derrick Rose, Russell Westbrook, Kevin Durant, Shaquille O'Neal, Dirk Nowitzki, Kobe Bryant, Allen Iverson, Kevin Garnett, David Robinson1

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Kareem Abdul-Jabbar has the most regular season MVPs in the NBA (6). He is a retired basketball star who played as a centre for Milwaukee Bucks and the Los Angeles Lakers. Kareem won three accolades a piece with both the Bucks and the Lakers.

Who votes on NBA Finals MVP?

The MVP award is often decided by a panel of sportswriters and broadcasters, who cast their votes at the end of an NBA season. The player with the most votes wins the award.

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How many MVPs does Jordan have?

How many MVPs does Jordan have?
Michael Jordan of the Chicago Bulls holds his fifth Maurice Podoloff Most Valuable Player Trophy for the 1997-98 season at the United Center in Chicago, IL. Photo: Jeff Haynes
Source: Getty Images

Michael Jordan is widely considered the greatest basketball player of all time. He won five MVP awards in his successful career, a feat he shares with Bill Russell. Jordan won the accolade as a Chicago Bulls player in 1988, 1991, 1992, 1996, and 1998.

Who has the most NBA MVPs in a row?

Some players have won the accolade more than once, but only a few have done it in a row. Meanwhile, only three players have won the award thrice in a row. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and LeBron James have won it twice in a row.

PlayerYearsTeam (s)
Bill Russell1961, 1962, 1963Boston Celtics
Wilt Chamberlain1966, 1967, 1968Philadelphia 76ers
Larry Bird1984, 1985, 1986Boston Celtics
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar 1971, 1972; 1976, 1977Milwaukee Bucks, Los Angeles Lakers
Moses Malone1982, 1983Houston Rockets, Philadelphia 76ers
Magic Johnson1989, 1990Los Angeles Lakers
Michael Jordan1991, 1992Chicago Bulls
Tim Duncan2002, 2003San Antonio Spurs
Steve Nash2005, 2006Phoenix Suns
LeBron James2009, 2010; 2012, 2013Cleveland Cavaliers, Miami Heat
Stephen Curry2015, 2016Golden State Warriors
Giannis Antetokounmpo2019, 2020Milwaukee Bucks
Nikola Jokic2021, 2022Denver Nuggets

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Teams with the most MVPs winners

Who has the most MVPs in the NBA right now?
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar of the Los Angeles Lakers with the sixth MVP trophy he received from the NBA after defeating Julius Erving of the Philadelphia 76ers. Photo: Bettmann
Source: Getty Images

The Boston Celtics (10) have the most awards by a team, followed by the Los Angeles Lakers with eight. Chicago Bulls and the Philadelphia 76ers have six each.

  • 10 - Boston Celtics
  • 8 - Los Angeles Lakers
  • 6- Chicago Bulls, Philadelphia 76ers
  • 5 - Milwaukee Bucks
  • 4 - Houston Rockets
  • 3 - San Antonio Spurs, Phoenix Suns, Golden State Warriors
  • 2 - Miami Heat, Denver Nuggets, Utah Jazz, Cleveland Cavaliers, Oklahoma City Thunder, Atlanta Hawks
  • 1 - Minnesota Timberwolves, Dallas Mavericks, L.A. Clippers, Portland Trail Blazers, Washington Wizards, Sacramento Kings, New York Knicks

NBA MVP list in 2022

NBA MVP list 2022
Nikola Jovic (C) with the 2021-22 MVP award he won after defeating Giannis Antetokounmpo (L) and Joel Embiid (R). Photo: AAron Ontiveroz, Michael Reaves, Angelos Tzortzinis (modified by author)
Source: Getty Images

Serbian basketball star Nikola Jokić won the 2021-22 NBA Most Valuable Player award, beating Joel Embiid and Giannis Antetokounmpo. Jokić plays a centre for the Denver Nuggets. Here is a list of the top 5 players who entered the race for the award.

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PlayerTotal PointsTeam
Nikola Jokić875Denver Nuggets
Joel Embiid706Philadelphia 76ers
Giannis Antetokounmpo595Milwaukee Bucks
Devin Booker216Phoenix Suns
Luka Dončić146Dallas Mavericks

Most all-star MVPs in the NBA

The NBA All-Star game is a basketball event featuring 24 of the league's star players. A couple of players won the NBA All-Star Game MVP award, but only two have won it four times. Bob Petit won it in 1956, 1958, 1959, and 1962, while Kobe Bryant won in 2002, 2007, 2009, and 2011.

Most finals MVPs in the NBA

The NBA Finals Most Valuable Player title, also known as the Bill Russell award, is an accolade given to the best player in an NBA final. It was first introduced in 1969 and won by Jerry West of the Los Angeles Lakers. Michael Jordan is the record holder of the title, having won it six times. Stephen Curry is the latest MVP winner (2021-2022).

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  • Michael Jordan - (6) 1990-91, 1991-92, 1992-93, 1995-96, 1996-97, 1998-99
  • LeBron James - (4) 2011-12, 2012-13, 2015-16, 2020-21
  • Magic Johnson - (3) 1979-80, 1981-82, 1986-87
  • Shaquille O'Neal - (3) 1999-00, 2000-01, 2001-02
  • Tim Duncan - (3) 1998-99, 2002-03, 2004-05

Best NBA players who never won an MVP Award

All-Star MVPs in the NBA
From left to right; Isiah Thomas, Elgin Baylor (22), Jerry West (44), and John Havlicek. Photo: Focus On Sport, Bettmann (modified by author)
Source: Getty Images

Many basketball players dream of winning the NBA's Most Valuable Player award. However, some legendary stars have ended their careers without bagging the title due to stiff competition in selecting the winner. So, who are they?

Jerry West - Los Angeles Lakers

Jerry West finished as runner-up in the award four times and in the top five on different occasions. He was also an All-Star for every year in his career. West is considered the greatest NBA player to have never won an MVP Award.

Elgin Baylor - Minneapolis/Los Angeles Laker

Baylor was an outstanding forward with incredible stats. However, he ended his career without an NBA MVP and an NBA championship.

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John Havlicek - Boston Celtics

Winning eight NBA Championships and earning 13 All-Star selections is more than enough to win at least an MVP award. However, for John Havlicek, he was unfortunate to play alongside Bill Russell, who was given more credit.

Dwyane Wade - Miami Heat

The former Miami star is considered one of basketball's top five shooting guards. But perhaps sharing the same era as Kobe Bryant and LeBron James cost him an MVP award.

Isiah Thomas - Detroit Pistons

Isiah won two straight NBA championships with the Pistons and is often mentioned among the top 5 point guards to have ever played. He also won a Finals MVP trophy but could not compete with Michael Jordan and other stars for the prestigious accolade.

Other notable talents who missed the award include John Stockton, Patrick Ewing, Chris Paul, Jason Kidd, and Clyde Drexler.

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar's record of the most MVP awards (6) in the NBA remains intact for nearly four decades. However, with the increasing level of competition in the league, it is unlikely we will see a player reaching the numbers soon.

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