Many things in sports aren't up to you. Winning a championship, more often than not, isn't up to you. Luck factors in, and so does your team, your rivals, and even your health.
But what all players can control is how they perform and how they approach the game of basketball. That's why just some of them stand out over the rest of the crowd every single year.
The best players in the world are often rewarded at the end of the season with the MVP award. Here, we're going to let you know about the last time a player from each team earned that distinction.
Atlanta Hawks - Bob Pettit (1959)
29.2 PPG, 16.4 RPG, 3.1 APG, 43% FG
The Atlanta Hawks have never been a powerhouse around the NBA. As a matter of fact, they have never won an NBA Championship in the city of Atlanta and their lone trophy dates back to their days in St. Louis.
So does their last MVP. Bob Pettit, one of the world's early greatest players, was the last Hawks player to ever win an MVP award. Notably, he was also the first player to win that distinction.
Boston Celtics - Larry Bird (1986)
25.8 PPG, 9.8 RPG, 6.8 APG, 2.0 SPG, 1.0 3PG, 49% FG, 42% 3FG
It's crazy to think that a historically great franchise such as the Boston Celtics hasn't had an MVP winner since Larry Bird took the award for the third straight season in 1986. We're talking about the winningest franchise in the league.
The Celtics ruled basketball in its early stages but they have also won just one NBA Championship over the past 2+ decades. Hopefully, Jayson Tatum will put an end to that drought.
Brooklyn Nets - Never
Charlotte Hornets - Never
Chicago Bulls - Derrick Rose (2011)
25.0 PPG, 4.4 RPG, 7.1 APG, 1.0 SPG, 1.6 3PG, 44% FG
The Chicago Bulls franchise has been defined by one man and one man only, and that's Michael Jordan. They weren't that good before him and haven't won a ring - or even made the NBA Finals - since he retired.
But in-between, there was Derrick Rose. Rose brought back hope to the Windy City when he became the youngest MVP in NBA history and looking like the player that would dethrone LeBron James in the East before injuries derailed his career.
Cleveland Cavaliers - LeBron James (2010)
29.7 PPG, 7.3 RPG, 8.6 APG, 1.6 SPG, 1.0 BPG, 1.7 3PG, 50% FG
The Cleveland Cavaliers might as well change their arena name to the LeBron James arena. He's the all-time leader in pretty much every single category in franchise history and the only reason why they have an NBA Championship.
LeBron James won the first two MVPs of his career during his first stint with the Clevelands, and even though he wasn't able to lead them to a ring in those years, he was clearly the best player in the world.
Dallas Mavericks - Dirk Nowitzki (2007)
24.6 PPG, 8.9 RPG, 3.4 APG, 0.9 3PG, 50% FG, 41% 3FG, 90% FT
Dirk Nowitzki recently stated that Luka Doncic is already the greatest Dallas Maverick of all time, but that's a blatant lie. It's not that he doesn't have the potential to earn that distinction, but he's still ways away from achieving what Dirk achieved.
Nowitzki is the only MVP in franchise history. He led them to their only two NBA Finals appearances and won them their only championship. He's the greatest foreign player of all time until further notice.
Denver Nuggets - Nikola Jokic (2021)
26.4 PPG, 10.8 RPG, 8.3 APG, 1.3 SPG, 1.3 3PG, 56% FG
Nikola Jokic just became the 5th foreign player to win an MVP award and the lowest drafted MVP ever. He beat the odds and overcame multiple hurdles and is now considered the greatest passing big man of all time.
Jokic is also the first player in Denver Nuggets history to win an MVP award, topping former greats of the team such as Alex English or Carmelo Anthony. Hopefully, he'll also lead them to their first NBA Finals appearance.
Detroit Pistons - Never
Golden State Warriors - Stephen Curry (2016)
30.1 PPG, 5.4 RPG, 6.7 APG, 2.1 SPG, 5.1 3PG, 50% FG, 45% 3FG, 90% FT
Stephen Curry had been heavily criticized in 2015 and people said that he was the worst MVP since Steve Nash. He responded by leading the league in points per game, steals per game, and becoming the first unanimous MVP in NBA history.
Curry had a historically great season and became a member of the exclusive 50/40/90 club. Also, he led the Golden State Warriors to the best regular season ever with a 73-9 record.
Houston Rockets - James Harden (2018)
30.4 PPG, 5.4 RPG, 8.8 APG, 1.8 SPG, 3.7 3PG, 44% FG
People have often criticized James Harden for his lack of success in the postseason. But there was a time - not so long ago - when he was the most unstoppable scorer in the whole world.
Harden's elite scoring and playmaking skills made the Houston Rockets one of the biggest dark horses out of the Western Conference, and some claim that he should've won at least two more MVPs by now but was snubbed by the league.
Indiana Pacers - Never
Los Angeles Clippers - Bob McAdoo (1975)
34.5 PPG, 14.1 RPG, 2.2 APG, 1.1 SPG, 2.1 BPG, 51% FG
The Los Angeles Clippers have never been a successful franchise. If anything, they've been relegated and forced to live under the Los Angeles Lakers' shadow. That's why they haven't had many MVP candidates.
But, nearly 50 years ago, Bob McAdoo was actually able to earn those honors thanks to his stunning averages of 34.5 points and 14.1 rebounds per game. That happened when the Clippers were still the Buffalo Braves.
Los Angeles Lakers - Kobe Bryant (2008)
28.3 PPG, 6.3 RPG, 5.4 APG, 1.8 SPG, 1.8 3PG, 45% FG
The Los Angeles Lakers are tied for
The last Laker to do it? Kobe Bryant, the greatest player in franchise history. He was simply unstoppable during the 2008 season, leading the team to the NBA Finals. Sadly, he couldn't cap off that year with a ring, but he did win a couple more the next two seasons.
Memphis Grizzlies - Never
Miami Heat - LeBron James (2013)
26.8 PPG, 8.0 RPG, 7.3 APG, 1.7 SPG, 1.4 3PG, 56% FG, 40% 3FG
It's crazy to think that LeBron James hasn't won an MVP award in the past 8 years despite still being one of the best - if not the best - player in the league. His last award came when he was still a member of the Miami Heat.
Heat LeBron was prime LeBron, the most dominant it was. He was at his finest physically speaking, playing defense, and just dominating every time he drove to the rim. You're up next, Jimmy Butler.
Milwaukee Bucks - Giannis Antetokounmpo (2020)
29.5 PPG, 13.6 RPG, 5.6 APG, 1.0 SPG, 1.0 BPG, 1.4 3PG, 55% FG
Giannis Antetokounmpo isn't just a two-time MVP but also the first player since Hakeem Olajuwon to win both MVP and Defensive Player of the Year in the very same season.
Giannis had the chance to take his talents elsewhere and pursue a ring but he rathered stayed loyal to the franchise who took a leap of faith in him. Now, he has to finish the job and lead them to another ring.
Minnesota Timberwolves - Kevin Garnett (2004)
24.2 PPG, 13.9 RPG, 5.0 APG, 1.5 SPG, 2.2 BPG, 49% FG
There's no way you could talk about the Minnesota Timberwolves without spending a lot of time talking about Kevin Garnett. Honestly, it feels like it all starts and finishes with him.
Garnett was one of the most dominant two-way players in the league in his prime. Despite not having much of a supporting cast, he still willed the Timberwolves into playoff contention.
New Orleans Pelicans - Never
New York Knicks - Willis Reed (1970)
21.7 PPG, 13.9 RPG, 2.0 APG, 50% FG
Even though the New York Knicks are one of the most popular teams in the world and NYC boasts one of the biggest sports markets on the planet, they still haven't had an MVP player in the past 51 years.
Willis Reed was the brightest star in the Big Apple when the Knicks won their only two NBA Championships. He was a dominant force on both ends of the glass, and one of the most unstoppable rebounders in basketball history.
Oklahoma City Thunder - Russell Westbrook (2017)
31.6 PPG, 10.7 RPG, 10.4 APG, 1.6 SPG, 2.5 3PG, 42% FG
Russell Westbrook could've left the Oklahoma City Thunder as soon as Kevin Durant signed with the Golden State Warriors. Instead, he signed a contract extension and put the team on his back to lead them to the playoffs.
Westbrook became the second player to average a triple-double for a full season while also leading the league in points per game, becoming an obvious choice for the Most Valuable Player award.
Orlando Magic - Never
Philadelphia 76ers - Allen Iverson (2001)
31.1 PPG, 3.8 RPG, 4.6 APG, 2.5 SPG, 1.4 3PG, 42% FG
The Philadelphia 76ers have one of the biggest fanbases in the NBA and have a rich history. However, they haven't made it to the ultimate stage since Allen Iverson's historical season in 2001.
Iverson was a straight-up killer. He was crossing up the best defenders in the world and putting up video game-like numbers, taking them to the Finals with an aging Dikembe Mutombo as the second-best player in the team. He's perhaps the most talented player never to win an NBA Championship.
Phoenix Suns - Steve Nash (2006)
18.8 PPG, 4.2 RPG, 10.5 APG, 1.9 3PG, 51% FG, 43% 3FG, 92% FT
Steve Nash may not have the most impressive MVP stats but, contrary to what Shaquille O'Neal wants you to think, he was a deserving winner of the award for his impact with the Phoenix Suns.
The Suns had the best offense in the league and were some questionable calls away from making it further in the playoffs. Nash revolutionized the way the point guard position was played and was the most efficient scorer in the league, joining the 50/40/90 club as well.
Portland Trail Blazers - Bill Walton (1978)
18.9 PPG, 13.2 RPG, 5.0 APG, 1.0 SPG, 2.5 BPG, 52% FG
Not many people talk about Bill Walton nowadays but there was a time when he was a huge presence on both ends of the floor and an outstanding playmaker. Sadly, injuries derailed his career.
Damian Lillard has been a legit MVP candidate for a couple of seasons now but the Blazers' small market and the presence of other stars have kind of hurt him. Hopefully, he'll get the award he deserves so much.
Sacramento Kings - Oscar Robertson (1964)
31.4 PPG, 9.9 RPG, 11.0 APG, 48% FG
Oscar Robertson was the first player in NBA history to average a triple-double for a full season. He was Russell Westbrook before Russell Westbrook and held the record for most triple-doubles until this season.
Robertson was strong, athletic, fast, and physical. Then again, he wasn't exactly a Sacramento Kings player when he won the award, as he was a member of the Cincinnati Royals, the franchise that preceded them.
San Antonio Spurs - Tim Duncan (2003)
23.3 PPG, 12.9 RPG, 3.9 APG, 2.9 BPG, 51% FG
Tim Duncan may not be the flashiest player on this list. He wasn't exactly a big entertainer, but he has a strong case for being the most efficient two-way superstar in basketball history.
Duncan didn't talk much, his game did all the talking for him. He was a top-notch rim protector that could also guard the perimeter, and he could put up an efficient 25 points per game over the best defenders in the league.
Toronto Raptors - Never
Utah Jazz - Karl Malone (1999)
23.8 PPG, 9.4 RPG, 4.1 APG, 1.3 SPG, 49% FG
For obvious reasons that we won't address in this article, Karl Malone isn't exactly a popular figure around the NBA community. Nonetheless, his contributions and numbers on the basketball court can't be ignored.
The Utah Jazz have never been exactly a popular franchise and they had their fair share of ups and downs since the Malone era. Now, Donovan Mitchell could put an end to this drought.
Washington Wizards - Wes Unseld (1969)
13.8 PPG, 18.2 RPG, 2,6 APG, 47% FG
Wes Unseld won the MVP award and the Rookie of the Year award the very same year, becoming the second player since Wilt Chamberlain to win both accolades in the same season.
Unseld was a defensive force in the 70s and one of the biggest reasons why the Washington Bullets were able to win the 1977-78 NBA Championship. Since then, that franchise hasn't found much playoff success.
Credit: Slam Studios