Jerry West is also the first player in NBA history to earn MVP on a losing club. West was awarded the honor after leading the Los Angeles Lakers to a 42-40 record and the 8th seed in the Western Conference.
He became the first Laker to win the award when the Lakers lost to the Boston Celtics in the second round of the 1969 NBA Playoffs. During that season, West averaged 28.1 points, 12.4 rebounds, and 2.5 assists per game.
In 1992, Charles Barkley became the first overall pick to win the award when the Phoenix Suns defeated the Seattle SuperSonics 4 games to 3 in the First Round of the NBA Playoffs. That same year, Michael Jordan finished second after leading the Chicago Bulls to their third straight championship. He is the only player to win the award more than twice.
In 1996, Karl Malone became the first player drafted number one overall to win the award when the Utah Jazz defeated the Houston Rockets 4 games to 1 in the First Round of the NBA Playoffs. Prior to this series, no rookie had even been close to winning the award. The last rookie to finish in the top two was Jerry West back in 1968.
Only once in NBA history has a losing team's player been named Finals MVP. Jerry West during the 1968-69 season. In 2009, former NBA commissioner David Stern renamed the Finals MVP trophy after Bill Russell. No other player has ever been selected Finals MVP in a losing effort.
The 1969 Los Angeles Lakers were the only team to have a losing record during the 1968-69 season. They went 40-4 over their last 44 games played that year. The last game they lost was to the Boston Celtics on June 8, 1969. For that game, Los Angeles sent center Bill Walton instead of playing him since he had already been eliminated from playoff contention. He didn't want to let his teammates down by leaving them for any reason before the end of the season. Bill Walton ended up winning the award that season despite the fact that the Lakers lost in six games to Boston in the Finals.
Since then, no player who came off the bench and helped his team win the title has been awarded the honor.
In addition, no player has ever received the award while still with a team that failed to go all the way. However, if a player reports to another team without permission from the original team, then it would be considered tampering with the roster. If this happens and the player ends up on a different team than the one he intended to join, then he would not be allowed to receive the award.
Jerry West, the inaugural recipient, is the only individual to have received the award while playing for the losing team in the NBA Finals. Cedric Maxwell and Chauncey Billups are the two Finals MVPs who have not been elected into the Hall of Fame.
The award has been won twice by Willis Reed, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Larry Bird, Hakeem Olajuwon, Kobe Bryant, Kawhi Leonard, and Kevin Durant.
It is possible to win the award despite failing to reach the playoffs. Jerry West, who won his first MVP award with the Los Angeles Lakers, was also responsible for bringing in the most successful collection of players in NBA history known as "The Logo Team". This included stars like Shaquille O'Neal, Kobe Bryant, and Dwight Howard who all played together on one team for the first time in their careers. Since then, four more individuals have done this same thing. They are LeBron James (2014), Steve Nash (2012), Chris Paul (2011), and Derrick Rose (2010).
MVP is awarded every year after the conclusion of the regular season and before the start of the NBA Finals. It is voted on by members of the media, coaches, and fans. A player must be nominated in order to receive votes. A maximum of five candidates will be listed on each ballot. Voters are asked to select the most outstanding performer over the last season. Candidates cannot be active players on an existing contract; they can only be former players who completed their career as of June 30, or newcomers who have not yet played a game in the NBA.
Boston Celtics' Bill Walton Bill Walton, the second and last Hall of Famer on this list, is the only player in NBA history to earn an NBA Finals MVP, a regular-season MVP, and a Sixth Man award. He is also the only player to win all three awards.
Walton was a four-time All-Star while with the Boston Celtics, and he still holds several team records to this day. In 1978, he helped lead the Celtics to their first championship in 22 years, as they defeated the Los Angeles Lakers 4-3 in the Finals. That same year, he was named the MVP of the NBA Finals after he averaged 20.5 points, 12.0 rebounds, and 5.0 assists in four games against Larry Bird and the Indiana Pacers.
He repeated as MVP in 1979, when he again led the Celtics to a title, this time defeating the Phoenix Suns 4-1. That same season, he became just the third player in NBA history to score 3000 points and grab 900 rebounds (he did it in 762 games). He remains one of only six players who have done so.
After leaving Boston before the 1983 season, he went on to play for the Seattle SuperSonics, and he helped them win the 1984 NBA Championship.
Andre Iguodala is the only series winner who has started every game. Jerry West, the inaugural recipient, is the only individual to have received the award while playing for the losing team in the NBA Finals... Winners on many occasions.
|Team(s)||Milwaukee Bucks, Los Angeles Lakers|
In his debut season, Magic Johnson won the Finals MVP title in the 1980 NBA Finals. It was the first and only time this has happened.
It had never happened before or since then. The closest any player got was when Larry Hughes of the Seattle Supersonics was given the award in 1994 after making the Finals. However, he had only played in one game during that series because of an injury to Mark Eaton.
He never got a chance to play in front of his home crowd for either team. The Suns lost in five games to Michael Jordan's Bulls and the Supersonics were eliminated by Toronto in seven games.
During the off-season, Hughes moved to Houston where he would eventually win another ring with the Rockets. He did not receive the award this time around either; instead, it went to Hakeem Olajuwon for helping lead the Rockets to their first championship in Game 6 of the 1995 Finals against Chicago.
This is probably due to the fact that no rookie has ever done well enough in the Finals to be considered a candidate for the award. If anything, it shows how much confidence you have to have in your ability to win a championship.