Which player has the most NBA MVP awards? originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago
The Joker got his sequel.
Nikola Jokic reportedly has been voted the 2021-22 NBA Most Valuable Player, earning the honor for the second straight season. The Denver Nuggets center beat out fellow finalists Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid and Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo for the award.
One MVP is enough to solidify someone’s legacy, but a second puts a player in rarified air. All 14 players with multiple MVPs before Jokic were named to the NBA 75th Anniversary Team. In addition, they are all either in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame or headed there once their playing days are finished.
Jokic has a chance to make even more history next season. Thirteen players have earned consecutive MVP awards, and three of them have even won three in a row.
For now, here’s a look at the players with the most NBA MVPs after Jokic joined the multi-MVP club:
1. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar – 6
1971, 1972, 1974, 1976, 1977, 1980
Abdul-Jabbar won three of his MVPs with the Milwaukee Bucks and three more with the Los Angeles Lakers. Along with being the all-time leader in MVP awards, the legendary center remains the league’s all-time leading scorer.
T-2. Bill Russell – 5
1958, 1961, 1962, 1963, 1965
Russell became the first NBA player to win three straight MVPs. Making those seasons better? His Boston Celtics won the NBA Finals in each of those years, helping him accumulate an insurmountable 11 championships as a player.
T-2. Michael Jordan – 5
1988, 1991, 1992, 1996, 1998
It should come as no surprise that Jordan dominated MVP voting in the 1990s considering his Chicago Bulls did the same throughout the decade. His first MVP came a few years prior, when he averaged 35.0 points, 5.9 assists, 5.5 rebounds and 3.2 steals per game in 1987-88, just his fourth NBA season.
T-4. Wilt Chamberlain – 4
1960, 1966, 1967, 1968
Chamberlain was the second player to three-peat as MVP. If not for Russell, Chamberlain could be even higher on this list. The Philadelphia and San Francisco Warriors center didn’t win MVP in seasons where he averaged 50.4 and 44.8 points per game, as the league handed the award to his Celtics counterpart.
T-4. LeBron James – 4
2009, 2010, 2012, 2013
James’ longtime status as the best player in basketball netted him four MVPs over a five-year stretch. Despite leading the Cleveland Cavaliers and Lakers to championships over the last six years, he has not taken home the award since his days with the Miami Heat.
T-6. Moses Malone – 3
1979, 1982, 1983
Moses Malone started a stretch in which three marquee players took home nine of 12 MVPs. He won his first two awards with the Houston Rockets before winning his third in his first season with the Sixers, who won the 1983 NBA Finals.
T-6. Larry Bird – 3
1984, 1985, 1986
Bird took the torch from Moses Malone starting in 1984. The Celtics forward became the most recent player to collect three straight MVPs, doing so from 1984 to 1986 as Boston won two championships.
T-6. Magic Johnson – 3
1987, 1989, 1990
In 1987, Bird’s rival took the torch. Johnson won three MVPs from 1987 to 1990 but was unable to win all three in consecutive seasons. Instead, it was Johnson’s Lakers that three-peated, winning the 1987, 1988 and 1989 Finals.
T-9. Bob Pettit – 2
Pettit made history as the first MVP in NBA history, taking home the honor in 1956. After a pair of Celtics earned the award in 1957 and 1958, the St. Louis Hawks big man became the first two-time MVP in 1959.
T-9. Karl Malone – 2
Karl Malone alternated MVPs with Jordan from 1996 to 1999, though Jordan got the last laugh. The Bulls beat Malone’s Jazz in consecutive NBA Finals in 1997 and 1998, with Jordan citing Malone’s 1997 MVP as fuel for Chicago’s championship victory.
T-9. Tim Duncan – 2
Duncan was the first of five players to win multiple MVPs in the 21st century, and they all did it in consecutive seasons. The power forward capped off his second MVP season by leading the San Antonio Spurs to a 2003 Finals triumph over the New Jersey Nets.
T-9. Steve Nash – 2
Speaking of the Nets, their current head coach has two MVPs in his trophy room. Despite owning the two lowest-scoring seasons for an MVP since Wes Unseld in 1969, Nash led the NBA in assists in 2005 and 2006 on his way to the award.
T-9. Steph Curry – 2
Curry’s first MVP came in 2015, as he won his first NBA title with the Warriors. His second one was even more impressive, leading Golden State to an unprecedented 73-9 regular season record and becoming the first unanimous MVP in league history.
T-9. Giannis Antetokounmpo – 2
Antetokounmpo was a two-time MVP at age 25, earning the award in 2019 and 2020. The Greek Freak put together his greatest accomplishment in 2021, though, leading the Bucks to their first title in 50 years, which also happened to be Abdul-Jabbar’s first MVP season.
T-9. Nikola Jokic – 2
Jokic took the torch from Antetokounmpo and continued the dominance of international players in the modern NBA. All three finalists in 2022 were born outside of the U.S. and no American player has earned the award since James Harden in 2018. With Jamal Murray and Michael Porter Jr. set to return for 2022-23, Jokic and the Nuggets will hope to follow the same path as Antetokounmpo and the Bucks: two MVPs right before a championship.