There aren’t many things in the world of sports harder than winning an NBA MVP award. You go against the best players on earth trying to demonstrate that over 7 months you can take your team to the postseason having outstanding performances on a nightly basis, leaving no doubt that nobody is better than you.
That is a huge feat to achieve only once. Now imagine how it is to win it twice or three times. Now, go further and think how difficult it would be for somebody, no matter his name or where he plays, to win the award in three consecutive seasons. That is even more remarkable and there is actually a very little group of players that did the impossible and earned three straight MVPs.
It’s been a lot since this happened for the last time and today we’re going to take a look at those players that signed their name on one of the most exclusive lists in NBA history. Some players like Tim Duncan, LeBron James or Stephen Curry won back-to-back MVPs, but only three ballers have won three consecutively. These are the only players to win three MVP awards in a row.
Bill Russell – 1961, 1962, 1963
Bill Russell set a lot of records with his incredible Boston Celtics while also becoming one of the greatest players to ever do it. The big man was the first player ever to win the Most Valuable Player award three times in a row, from 1961 through 1963.
Of course, in each season, the Celtics won the NBA championship, with Russell leading his team to the promised land. He would have won a 4th consecutive MVP in 1964, but he came behind Oscar Robertson and Wilt Chamberlain in the ballot that year. His fourth MVP in 5 years and the 5th overall would come in 1965, once again proving how great he was during those days.
Wilt Chamberlain – 1966, 1967, 1968
Wilt Chamberlain had won the MVP award right before Russell started his great run with the C’s. However, when Bill stopped winning, it was Chamberlain’s time to make history. Another center considered the greatest player of his era for the impressive things he used to do on the court, Chamberlain would take home three consecutive MVP awards, as well.
From 1966 through 1968, Chamberlain was the Most Valuable Player in the league, taking his Philadelphia 76ers to win the title in 1967 against the San Francisco Warriors. Even though the Celtics continued their dominance in the league over that span, there was no better player in the league than Wilt Chamberlain.
Larry Bird – 1984, 1985, 1986
The Boston Celtics are the most successful franchise in the NBA and a lot of that is in part because of the great players they have within their ranks. We already saw Bill Russell and now is time for Larry Bird, another big name who knew how to make history in the association. The small forward won three MVPs during his career and they all came in a row.
Bird was the NBA Most Valuable Player in 1984, 1985 and 1986, joining Russell and Chamberlain in their exclusive club. Bird took the Celtics to three NBA Finals during that period, winning two titles in 1984 and 1986, respectively. Bird and his Celtics were one of the biggest forces in the league during the 80s and his impressive runs were the biggest proof of that.