№20: The 35 winners of the NBA’s Most Valuable Player Award (The Maurice Podoloff Trophy)

May 24, 2021

Welcome to the tedi.substack.com weekly newsletter! At the beginning of each week*, this newsletter will touch on any number of entertaining, informative, or (possibly) useful topics.

The focus of this week’s Stats Spotlight is on the highest individual achievement that a player can win during their professional career—The National Basketball Association Most Valuable Player Award (MVP). Established during the 1955-1956 NBA season, can you believe that there has only been only 35 recipients of the Maurice Podoloff Trophy.

Now I know that I am jumping the gun a little bit since the 2020-2021 MVP has yet to be declared (However, the NBA did announce the three finalists for the award: The Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokić, the Philadelphia 76ers slot man Joel Embiid, and the Golden State Warriors two-time MVP Stephen Curry), but all signs seem to point to Jokić (Played all of this team’s games (72) with averages of 26.4 points, 10.8 rebounds, 8.3 assists on 56.6% FG%, 38.8 3PFG%, and 86.8% FT%) running away with the award. (Update: Jokić was officially named MVP last June 8, 2021).

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Welcome to Stats Spotlight! Inspired by the writings of the late Zander Hollander (Sportswriter, archivist, and author of the ever informative The Complete Handbook of Pro Basketball), I decided to put my 30 years of basketball knowledge to some use and come up with a short, free flowing, and non-linear/viewpoint narrative on the featured player, team, hobby, or statistical insight.

The 35 recipients of the NBA’s Most Valuable Player Award (Maurice Podoloff Trophy)

Legend:

  • - Denotes active player.

  • ⍿ - Denotes Member of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.

  • (#) - Denotes number of times the player has won the Maurice Podoloff Trophy.

Notable Notes:

  1. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar has the most career MVP awards with 6. He is followed by Michael Jordan and Bill Russell who both have 5 MVP awards.

  2. There have only been three players in NBA history who have won three consecutive MVP awards: Bill Russell (1960-1961, 1961-1962, 1962-1963), Wilt Chamberlain (1965-1966, 1966-1967, 1967-1968), and Larry Joe Bird (1983-1984, 1984-1985, 1985-1986).

  3. While playing for the Portland Trailblazers in 1977-1978, Bill Walton won the MVP while only appearing in 58 games.

  4. Since the award’s inception (1955-1956), there have only been 35 recipients (in 66 years) as 14 members on this prestigious list have won two or more MVP awards.

  5. Of the 35 recipients, 8 are still active players in the NBA.

35) 2020-2021 - Nikola Jokić ⦁ - (2019-2020 Panini Encased Basketball | Scripted Signatures #SC-NJK [49/49])

34) 2018-2019 | 2019-2020 - Giannis Antetokounmpo ⦁ (2)

33) 2017-2018 - James Harden ⦁

32) 2016-2017 - Russell Westbrook ⦁ - (2008-2009 Press Pass Certified Authentics Power Pick #PP-RW [196/199] | Red Signature)

31) 2014-2015 | 2015-2016 - Stephen Curry ⦁ (2)

30) 2013-2014 - Kevin Durant ⦁

29) 2010-2011 - Derrick Rose ⦁

28) 2008-2009 | 2009-2010 | 2011-2012 | 2012-2013 - LeBron James ⦁ (4)

27) 2007-2008 - Kobe Bean Bryant (†) - (1996 Score Board Autograph Card [247/325])

26) 2006-2007 - Dirk Nowitzki

25) 2004-2005 | 2005-2006 - Steve Nash ⍿ (2)

24) 2003-2004 - Kevin Garnett ⍿

23) 2001-2002 | 2002-2003 - Tim Duncan ⍿ (2)

22) 2000-2001 - Allen Iverson ⍿

21) 1999-2000 - Shaquille O’Neal ⍿

20) 1996-1997 | 1998-1999 - Karl “The Mailman” Malone ⍿ (2) - (1996-1997 Upper Deck SPx #47 [Utah Jazz] | PSA/DNA Certified)

19) 1994-1995 - David Robinson ⍿

18) 1993-1994 - Hakeem Olajuwon ⍿

17) 1992-1993 - Charles Barkley ⍿

16) 1987-1988 | 1990-1991 | 1991-1992 | 1995-1996 | 1997-1998 - Michael Jordan ⍿ (5)

15) 1986-1987 | 1988-1989 | 1989-1990 - Magic Johnson ⍿ (3) - (1996-1997 Upper Deck SPx #24 [Los Angeles Lakers] | BGS 10)

14) 1983-1984 | 1984-1985 | 1985-1986 - Larry Bird ⍿ (3) - (2015-2016 Panini Luxe Red [02/25])

13) 1980-1981 - Julius Erving ⍿ - (2019-2020 Panini Encased #SS-JEV [9/15])

12) 1978-1979 | 1981-1982 | 1982-1983 - Moses Malone (†) ⍿ (3) - (1999-2000 Upper Deck Legendary Signatures #MM)

11) 1977-1978 - Bill Walton ⍿ - (1999-2000 Upper Deck Legendary Signatures #BW)

10) 1974-1975 - Bob McAdoo ⍿ - (2019-2020 Panini National Treasure - Peerless Signatures #PS-BMD [41/99])

9) 1972-1973 - Dave Cowens ⍿ - (1999-2000 Upper Deck Legendary Signatures #DC)

8) 1970-1971 | 1971-1972 | 1973-1974 | 1975-1976 | 1976-1977 | 1979-1980 - Kareem Abdul-Jabbar ⍿ (6) - (2002-2003 Upper Deck Generations Signature Classics #KA-S)

7) 1969-1970 - Willis Reed ⍿ - (1999-2000 Upper Deck Legendary Signatures #WR)

6) 1968-1969 - Wes Unseld (†) - (1999-2000 Upper Deck Legendary Signatures #WU)

5) 1963-1964 - Oscar Robertson ⍿ - (1999-2000 Upper Deck Legendary Signatures #OR)

4) 1959-1960 | 1965-1966 | 1966-1967 | 1967-1968 - Wilt Chamberlain (†) ⍿ (4)

3) 1957-1958 | 1960-1961 | 1961-1962 | 1962-1963 | 1964-1965 - Bill Russell ⍿ (5) - (Bill Russell Limited Edition Mr. Octobear Set | Hollywood Collectibles’ Reggie Jackson’s Mr. Octobears Promotional Set | PSA/DNA Certified)

2) 1956-1957 - Bob Cousy ⍿ - (Personal Check Dated April 20, 1997)

1) 1955-1956 | 1958-1959 - Bob Pettit ⍿ (2) - (1999-2000 Upper Deck Legendary Signatures #BP)


About

Tedi Gustilo Villasor, Ph.D. is a former columnist for Baby Magazine (Philippines) as well as a past contributor to NBA.com/Philippines. His other works include the indie comic books Lindol and OBIsessions.

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