The MVP award has been around since the 1955-56 season and even though there have been plenty of winners throughout the course of history, just a handful of players have been able to take the award home more than once, given how many great players are in the league.
It’s never easy to stand out on a competition that features just the cream of the crop. Even so, there have been some players that have been so impactful and dominant over a long period of time that they’ve been named MVPs multiple times.
But who are the guys that dominated an entire decade in terms of MVP voting? Who are the players that constantly made their teams better regardless of who they shared the pitch with? Today, we’ll let you know about the players with the most MVPs per decade:
Bob Pettit – 2 MVPs
Bob Pettit was the first MVP winner. He dominated the league right away since his rookie campaign in 1954-55 and was constantly among the league’s leaders in points per game, rebounds per game, minutes per game, and games played in a season.
He won the award for the first time in 1955-56 after leading the NBA with 25.7 points and 16.7 rebounds per game, and then again in 1958-59 when he averaged a career-high 29.7 points with 16.4 rebounds per game. He also won 1 ring during the decade.
Other winners: Bob Cousy, Bill Russell, Wilt Chamberlain
Wilt Chamberlain – 3 MVPs
Wilt Chamberlain is one of the most dominant players of all time. He made it to the 60s as the best and most athletic player, rebounder, and scorer on earth. He was in his prime during that decade and added 3 more MVPs and 1 NBA Championship to his previous accolades.
Chamberlain won three straight MVP awards in the 60s from 1965-68. He also led the league in scoring once and in rebounds three times while averaging 47 minutes per game during that stretch. His scoring and rebounding numbers will never be matched.
Bill Russell – 3 MVPs
But long before Wilt Chamberlain won his three straight MVPs, Bill Russell did the same for the Boston Celtics. He took the award home from 1960-63 and then again in 1965 while also winning 3 Championships with the most dominant dynasty of the early days of basketball during that decade.
Russell never posted impressive numbers if compared to Chamberlain but he was the best defender in the league at the time and it wasn’t even close. He didn’t lead the league in any category during his MVP runs but hey, he got the job done.
Other winners: Oscar Robertson, Wes Unseld, Willis Reed
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar 5 MVPs
If you want to talk about dominance then you must address Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s name. I mean, the guy literally won half of the MVP awards during the 1970s and won an NBA-record 6 MVPs during his career. That’s not likely to be matched any time soon.
Kareem won the first as Lew Alcindor in 1970-71 when he led the Bucks to a Championship. He won it again after changing his name in 1972, 74, 76, and 77. Then, he was the first award winner of the 1980s but that doesn’t count for this decade.
Other winners: Dave Cowens, Bob McAdoo, Bill Walton, Moses Malone
Larry Bird – 3 MVPs
Larry Bird was the most unstoppable scorer and most versatile player in the world during the 80s. He led the Boston Celtics back to the top of the game. Under his command, the Celtics made it to 5 Finals in the decade, winning 3 of them.
Moreover, Bird won three consecutive MVP awards from 1983-86, topping two of his MVP seasons with a ring. He spent 13 seasons in the league and never averaged fewer than 19.3 points per game. He was Kevin Durant before Kevin Durant.
Other winners: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Julis Erving, Moses Malone, Magic Johnson, Michael Jordan
Michael Jordan – 4 MVPs
Michael Jordan had already introduced himself to the world as the best player on earth in the 80s but he dominated the 90s from start to finish. I mean, he could have won 6 MVPs on top of his 6 NBA Championships and no one could have ever complained about it.
Jordan was the best scorer, defender, and leader in the NBA by a long stretch. He won the MVP in 1991, 92, 96, and 98. He was highly motivated by being snubbed of the award a couple of times and surely delivered in the Finals. Also, he was retired for 1 and a half seasons and still won 4 out of 10 MVPs.
Other winners: Charles Barkley, Hakeem Olajuwon, David Robinson, Karl Malone, Shaquille O’Neal
Steve Nash – 2 MVPs
The 2000s saw plenty of different players take home the MVP award. The NBA was up for grabs with no Michael Jordan in the picture and, honest to God, it may have been the most competitive period in the history of the Association.
Even so, Steve Nash stood out by the way he led one of the most entertaining and explosive offenses in NBA history. He won back-to-back MVPs in 2005 and 2006 and while some claim he shouldn’t have won with his scoring totals, he was by far the best point guard in the game during that stretch.
Tim Duncan – 2 MVPs
Tim Duncan took the league by storm right out of the gate. He turned the San Antonio Spurs around and helped them set the standard for the winning franchise they’re nowadays. And, as you may know by now, that started at the end of the 90s and start of the 2000s.
Duncan’s game wasn’t flashy at all but he was the smartest, most efficient player on both sides of the court in the league. He could’ve won the award more times but only took him home 2002 and 2003 (when he won the NBA Championship).
Other winners: Allen Iverson, Kevin Garnett, Dirk Nowitzki, Kobe Bryant, LeBron James
LeBron James – 3 MVPs
It was clear that LeBron James was going to be one of the all-time greats as soon as he set foot in the league. He entered the 2010s as the best player in the world and already had an MVP under his belt but he was yet to win an NBA Championship.
Even so, James won another MVP with the Cavaliers in 2010 before taking his talents to South Beach to join the Miami Heat. He won back-to-back MVPs (2012, 13), and a couple of rings before coming back home to the Cavs and winning his third Championship in 8 straight trips to the Finals.
Other winners: Derrick Rose, Kevin Durant, Stephen Curry, Russell Westbrook, James Harden, Giannis Antetokounmpo