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Top 5 Players With the Most MVP in the History of the NBA

The award that best portrays the most outstanding performance of a whole season is undoubtedly the Most Valuable Player of the season award, and in the NBA is by no means an easy feat to achieve thanks to the enormous level that year after year the bar is raised to take the number one spot among all players. We will address and summarize the journey of the stars who managed to achieve the honor on multiple occasions, more than any other in history.

We bring you this ranking of the five legends who have achieved more NBA MVPs than anyone else in NBA history.

5.- Wilt Chamberlain

Most NBA MVP - Wilt Chamberlain
New York Knicks’ Willis Reed comes down with open arms as Los Angeles Lakers’ Wilt Chamberlain comes down with another rebound during first half of their NBA playoff game at the Forum in Los Angeles, April 29, 1970. In the foreground is Lakers’ Jerry West (44). (AP Photo/George Brich, File)

If you look at Chamberlain’s career from an overall perspective, it’s crazy how much he accomplished in such a ”short” career: the 6-foot-6 center spent only 14 years in the NBA, yet he still managed to achieve records and averages that to this day are considered impossible, even to this day, is the all-time rebounding leader in NBA history.

Chamberlain was named MVP 4 times during his career, and his stat lines during such campaigns were simply ridiculous: in 1960 he averaged 37.6 points, 27 rebounds, and 2.3 assists in 72 games, his NBA debut year with the Philadelphia/San Francisco Warriors, which would lead him to become the first player in history to win Rookie of the Year and MVP award in the same season (Wes Unseld would also achieve it in 1969).

His next most valuable award would come consecutively, between 1966 and 1968, being part of the Philadelphia 76ers, averaging between the three seasons: 27.3 points, 24.2 rebounds and 7.2 assists (also achieving a championship with the Sixers in 1967).

Chamberlain’s track record: four MVP awards, 13 All-Star Game selections, 10 All-NBA quintets, five defensive quintets, seven-time scoring champion, 11-time rebounding champion, 1968 assists leader and two NBA championships (MVP on one occasion).

4.- LeBron James

Most NBA MVP - LeBron James
Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James (6) dunks against the Golden State Warriors during the first half of an NBA basketball game in San Francisco, Saturday, Feb. 12, 2022. (AP Photo/John Hefti)

The only active player on this list today, the 37-year-old forward continues to write his incredible story across the court with the Los Angeles Lakers, and has been arguably the most dominant player of his era without question.

Selected as a first overall selection in the 2003 tournament, James has become one of the most impactful athletes in the history of the sport with his incredible physique and durability, as well as talent on the court. His first MVP award came in the 2009 season as a member of the Cleveland Cavaliers, where he averaged 28.4 points, 7.6 rebounds, 7.2 assists, 1.7 steals and 1.1 blocks with an efficiency of 48.9 % from the field.

He would go on to win his second consecutive Most Valuable Player award in 2010, averaging 29.7 points, 7.3 rebounds, 8.6 assists, 1.6 steals and 1 block per game. He would earn his third MVP award in 2012 with the Miami Heat, averaging 27.1 points, 7.9 rebounds, 6.2 assists, 1.9 steals and 53.1 % efficiency from the field (that same campaign he would also earn his first NBA championship).

He would go on to win his fourth and final honor to date, in 2013, with 26.8 points, 8 rebounds, 7.3 assists, 1.7 steals and effectiveness from the field of 56.5 %.

James’ track record: four-time MVP, 17 All-Star Game selections, 16 All-NBA quintets, five defensive quintets, Rookie of the Year in 2004, leading scorer in 2008, assists in 2020 and four-time NBA champion (being MVP of each final).

3.- Bill Russell

Most NBA MVP - Bill Russell
In this Dec. 12, 1964 file photo, Boston Celtics’ Bill Russell, left, is congratulated by coach Arnold “Red” Auerbach after scoring his 10,000th career point during a basketball game against the Baltimore Bullets at the Boston Garden in Boston. (AP Photo/Bill Chaplis)

The player with the most championships won in the history of elite basketball, the legendary Boston Celtics center had an arrival that changed the sport in every sense, thanks to his relentless defensive ability and offensive style that forced the league to even change its regulations.

Russell won the NBA MVP award 5 times: the first time coming in the 1957-1958 campaign, where he averaged 16.6 points, 22.7 rebounds and 3.2 assists, being also the best defensive player in the league.

Following this first honor, the 6-foot-8 center would win three in a row from 1961 to 1963, averaging a combined 17.5 points, 23.7 rebounds and 4.1 assists on 43.8 % efficiency from the field.

His last award would come in the 1964-1965 campaign, with 14.1 points, 24.1 rebounds and 5.3 assists. Only during his streak of 3 consecutive MVP awards, Russell complemented it in turn with the NBA championship, while coming up short in the 1958 and 1965 campaign.

Russell’s track record: five MVP awards, 12 All-Star Game selections, 11 All-NBA quintets, one defensive quintet, four rebounding championships and 11 NBA championships (being MVP in five of them).

2.- Michael Jordan

Most NBA MVP - Michael Jordan
Michael Jordan of the Chicago Bulls and his wife, Juanita, hold the trophy for the NBA’s Most Valuable Player in Chicago, Ill., Monday, May 20, 1991. Jordan receives the MVP trophy, voted by sports writers and broadcasters, for the second time. Jordan averaged 31 points, 6 rebounds and 5.5 assists in the 1990-91 season (AP Photo/Charles Bennett).

Considered the greatest player in the history of the sport and one of the best athletes in existence, Jordan not only racked up championships but also individual titles, and the MVP was an overall favorite.

The first would come in the 1987-1988 campaign, with a line of 35 points, 5.5 rebounds, 5.9 assists, 3.2 steals and 1.6 blocks per game with an efficiency of 53.5 % in the 82 games played that season. That same year Michael would also win the Defensive Player of the Year award.

At the age of 27, he would win his second award, averaging 31.5 points, 6 rebounds, 5.5 assists, 2.7 steals and 1 block during the 82 games of the campaign and with efficiency from the field of 53.9 % in the 1990-1991 season, where he would win his first championship with the Chicago Bulls.

He would go on to win his third consecutive, averaging 30.1 points, 6.4 rebounds, 6.1 assists and 2.3 steals on 53.3 % efficiency. After his hiatus to try to pursue an MLB career, he would win two more awards, leaving his quota at five Most Valuable Player awards.

1995-1996 with 30.4 points, 6.6 rebounds, 4.3 assists, and 2.2 steals would be his fourth MVP, and his last would come in 1998, his last campaign before his first retirement from basketball, with a final line of 28.7 points, 5.8 rebounds, 3.5 assists and 1.7 steals per game.

Jordan’s track record: five MVP awards, 14 All-Star Game selections, 11 All-NBA teams, nine All-Defensive teams, Defensive Player of the Year in 1988, Rookie of the Year in 1985, 10-time scoring champion, three-time steals leader, six NBA championships and MVP in each of them.

1.- Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

Most NBA MVP - Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Lew Alcindor
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar of the Milwaukee Bucks practices his layup technique during a summer training camp session at Carroll College in Waukesha, Wis., Sept. 19, 1972. The Bucks are conducting two workouts daily in preparation for the upcoming preseason game against the Boston Celtics in Montreal. (AP Photo/Paul Shane)

If we talk about a player who left his impact better than anyone else in the history of the sport, it is the 6-foot-6 center, as his name is mentioned in almost any statistical or any other historical ranking in the NBA.

Spending his career with the Milwaukee Bucks and Los Angeles Lakers, Abdul-Jabbar is the highest MVP award winner in history, being the only one to reach the number of 6 awards. The first would come during his time with the Bucks, for the 1970-1971 campaign, where he averaged 31.7 points, 16 rebounds and 3.3 assists (which were the only statistics tracked at the time). In this season he would also win his first NBA championship.

He would be awarded again in 1972, with averages of 34.8 points, 16.6 rebounds and 4.6 assists. The third and final one with Milwaukee would be with a more complete and accurate stat line of what his performance was at the time: 27 points, 14.5 rebounds, 4.8 assists, 1.4 steals and 3.5 blocks through 81 games.

He would win his fourth and fifth in consecutive years as a member of the Lakers, the first of these in 1976 with one of his best lines in his career (27.7 points, 16.9 rebounds, 5 assists, 1.5 steals and 4.1 blocks per game). In 1979 he would repeat the feat with very similar numbers (26.2 points, 13.3 rebounds, 3.9 assists, 1.2 steals and 3.2 blocks).

His sixth and last came in the 1980 campaign at the age of 32, Kareem averaged 24.8 points, 10.8 rebounds, 4.5 assists, 1 steal and 3.4 blocks per game.

Abdul-Jabbar’s track record: six MVP awards, 19 All-Star Game selections, 15 All-NBA quintets, 11 defensive quintets, Rookie of the Year in 1970, two-time scoring champion, one-time rebounding champion, four-time blocks leader, six NBA championships (being MVP in two series).


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Written by Pedro Oliveira

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