It’s not official yet, but the NBA aren’t going to give the 2013 regular season MVP award to anyone else, so LeBron James can now set himself apart from Moses Malone, Larry Bird and Magic Johnson (who have won three), joining an elite club including only himself, Michael Jordan, Bill Russell, Wilt Chamberlain and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.
James is the only one of these five players with only one NBA title ring, and even though he has started picking up the most important award a bit late into his NBA career, or at least later than expected, there’s a good chance he’ll be catching up quite soon while guzzling up more MVP awards along the way.
LeBron James, 4 (2009-2010, 2012-2013)
The only reason LeBron James doesn’t have five awards by now is that for one year, the media and the public decided to punish him for leaving the Cavs to win titles with the Miami Heat, so a very good season from Derrick Rose was rewarded, while James pulled off another one which he only he could. Ten seasons of basketball, and it’s safe to say James is living up to the hype he was initially showered with, setting himself to be a player in a level that is just a little bit higher than anyone else can reach at this point in the NBA. He does everything on the court, and most of it he does better than the rest of the league, and is too to ignore with another impressive stat line of 26.8 points, 8 rebounds and 6.8 assists.
Wilt Chamberlain, 4 (1960, 1966-1968)
It’s hard to say if Chamberlain would have been as dominant in today’s NBA as he was during the 1960’s, but he was something the league never saw when he came out in 1960, playing for the Philadelphia Warriors and winning the MVP award during his rookie season, scoring 37.6 points per game. He averaged over 30 points per game during his first nine seasons in the NBA, but actually won two of his four awards once his scoring dropped and he became a more complete player, averaging 7.8 & 8.6 assists per game during his last couple of seasons before leaving to LA and win his second NBA title.
Michael Jordan, 5 (1988, 1991-1992, 1996, 1998)
Is it even necessary to say he’s the ______ (insert whatever you want) in the history of the NBA? For some reason, Jordan didn’t win the MVP in 1987 after posting 37.1 points, 5.2 rebounds, 4.6 assists, 2.9 steals and 1.5 blocks. That year he began his seven year reign of the scoring charts, averaging at least 30.1 points per game and retiring after winning his third MVP title, leading the Bulls to their league title. On his first full season back from retirement Jordan averaged 30.4 points to begin another three-peat of NBA & scoring titles.
Bill Russll, 5 (1958, 1961-1963, 1965)
The only reason Wilt Chamberlain doesn’t have a ridiculous amount of NBA titles and MVP awards (not that four is bad) is because of Bill Russell, the man who played perfect defense before it was truly appreciated or recorded right. His career blocks number is at 0, but during his 13-season NBA career he probably had more than anyone else has gotten since. Russell averaged “only” 15.1 points per game throughout his Celtics career, but added 22.5 rebounds and 4.3 assists, changing the way big men defended and affected the game on both ends of the floor, not to mention hardly letting a championship slip from his grasp, winning 11 of them.
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, 6 (1971-1972, 1974, 1976-1977, 1980)
Jabbar didn’t change the game with his basketball, but he lucked out to be the most dominant center during the worst decade in the history of the NBA. HE was only good enough to win one NBA title on his own before teaming up with Magic Johnson and winning five during his Lakers years. The most impressive thing about Jabbar was his longevity, still averaging 25 points per game in his 17th NBA season, nearing the age of 40. He retired with more points than anyone has ever scored, and possibly ever will, unless Kobe Bryant has decided he won’t quit until he gets that record as well.