The 2014 NBA MVP race has come down to a two-man contest between LeBron James and Kevin Durant.
History will be made either way. It would be Druant’s first MVP award if he is selected, which would be historic as Durant joins a relatively short list of NBA MVPs.
LeBron, on the other hand, would win his fifth MVP, pushing him higher up the list of all-time multiple MVP winners.
With information taken from basketball-reference, here are the NBA players who have won the most MVP awards in their careers.
1) Kareem Abdul-Jabbar – 6 MVPs
Kareem won his first MVP in 1971, just his second year in the league. That year he led the league in scoring at 31.7 points per game while also grabbing 16.0 rebounds. He was even better in 1972 – another MVP season – when he led the league in scoring again at 34.8 points to go along with 16.6 rebounds. He would go on to win the award again in 1974, 1976, 1977, and 1980.
2-T) Michael Jordan – 5 MVPs
MJ’s first MVP came in 1988, his fourth NBA season, when he led the league in scoring (35.0), steals (3.2), and minutes (40.4). Magic Johnson then deservedly won the next two MVPs, but after that the award was Jordan’s to lose. MJ was later named MVP in 1991, 1992, 1996, and 1998. His nearly two year “retirement” cost him a shot at the 1994 and 1995 awards, and MVP voters seemingly grew bored of giving No. 23 the award every year so they somehow awarded it to Charles Barkley in 1993 and Karl Malone 1997.
2-T) Bill Russell – 5 MVPs
In his 13-year career between 1957 and 1969, Bill Russell made 12 All-Star teams, won 11 NBA titles, and was awarded the MVP five times, giving him what is arguable the most impressive career in NBA history. Though his career 12.8 points per game is unimpressive, Russell averaged 22.5 rebounds per game and dominated on the defensive end. He also finished among the league’s Top 10 in assists four times despite playing center.
4-T) Wilt Chamberlain – 4 MVPs
Some of Wilt’s stats are just simply ridiculous. Averaging 27 rebounds per game in each of his first two seasons. Scoring 50.4 points per game with 25.7 rebounds in his third season, then 44.8 points the season after. In all Wilt played 14 seasons and retired with averages of 30.1 points, 22.9 rebounds, and 4.4 assists. With numbers like those, winning four MVP awards is no surprise.
4-T) LeBron James – 4 MVPs
Let’s say LeBron has won four MVPs…and counting. At age 29, King James is still in his prime with only Kevin Durant challenging him for the title of the league’s best player. LeBron didn’t win his first MVP until his sixth season in 2009, but has since won four of the last five MVP trophies. Derrick Rose won the 2011 MVP preventing James from winning five straight, but there may be many, many more MVPs to come from LeBron.