The NBA Most Valuable Player is one of the most famous awards in basketball. It has two types of prizes given every year: one indicates the best performing player of the regular season, and the other is focused on the finals, giving the title to the most important player in the series that involves the winners of the East and West conferences.
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NBA MVP Award
The NBA Most Valuable Player Award (MVP) is an event that happens every year since the 1955-56 season. It gives the best performing player of the regular season a trophy called the Maurice Podoloff Trophy – named in honour of the first NBA commissioner. Voting starts immediately after the end of the regular season – when each one of the 30 teams plays 82 games – which means that it does not consider the playoffs to elect the most valuable player.
Until the 1979-80 season, the MVP was selected by the NBA players’ vote. Since the following season, in 1980-81, the award is decided by a panel of sportswriters and broadcasters throughout the United States and Canada.
It works like this: each member of the voting panel casts a vote for first to fifth place selections. Every first-place vote is worth 10 points, the second-place vote is worth seven points, the third-place vote is worth five, while the fourth-place vote is worth three and the fifth-place vote is worth one point. Since 2010 there is a new ballot cast by fans through online voting, and the player with the highest result wins the award.
The first player to win the award was Bob Pettit, from the St. Louis Hawks. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is the only player to win the record of six awards. He is also the only one to win the title despite his team not making the playoffs in the 1975–76 season. Both Bill Russell and Michael Jordan won the award five times, while Wilt Chamberlain and LeBron James won the award four times. By the way, Russell and James are the only players to have won the award four times in five seasons.
The first player to win unanimously is Stephen Curry, in the 2015-16 season. The Nigerian player Hakeem Olajuwon, Duncan from the U.S. Virgin Islands, Nash from Canada, Dirk Nowitzki from Germany, and the Greek player Giannis Antetokounmpo are the only MVP winners considered foreign players by the NBA.
NBA Finals MVP Award
The NBA Finals MVP Award elects the most important player in the series that involves the winners of the East and West conferences, defining the champion of the world’s largest basketball league. The event has been held since 1969 and it gives the Bill Russell Trophy, in honour to the former Boston Celtics player who was 11 times NBA champion.
The award is decided by a panel of nine members of the media after the final game of the finals. The last seasons had the help of NBA fans who chose the player on the website and took the tenth vote.
Since it was created, the award was given to 31 players. Michael Jordan and Shaquille O’Neal are the only ones to win the prize in three consecutive years. Magic Johnson is the only player to have won the prize while he was still a rookie, playing his first NBA season.
The biggest winner of the Bill Russell NBA Finals Most Valuable Player Award is Michael Jordan. He was the MVP in all six NBA finals he played in his career. Apart from Shaquille O’Neal, Magic Johnson, Tim Duncan and LeBron James have also received three awards each.