Winning the Finals MVP award has to be one of the best moments for a player on an individual level because it is also tied to the greatest achievement on a player and team level. Winning the most valuable player award during a Finals series essentially means that a player was not only the best player on his team but usually the best performing player in the league from start to finish. Winning an NBA title is the most important aspect of competing in the league, and winning Finals MVP is a massive cherry on top.
We have collected all the Finals MVP award winners from 1991 to 2000, and it is very interesting to notice that one player stands out from the rest in terms of individual dominance on the court. It is also interesting to note that two players hold 8 Finals MVPs over the entire decade, and without further ado, here are the NBA Finals MVP winners from the 1991 season until the 2000 season.
1990-91 Finals MVP Award Winner - Michael Jordan
Stats: 31.2 PPG, 6.6 RPG, 11.4 APG, 2.8 SPG, 1.4 BPG
While his 1988 season captures the most attention thanks to the Defensive Player of the Year achievement, Jordan’s 1991 season might be the most significant. The legendary Bulls guard accomplished everything in the NBA season, from the scoring title to his first NBA title at the end of the year.
Jordan dropped 31.2 PPG in the Finals series against the Los Angeles Lakers, an exciting matchup for the ages. We got to see MJ take on Magic Johnson and the Lakers, although it ended completely in the Bulls’ favor. By far the most dominant scorer, Jordan took over his first successful Finals series.
1991-92 Finals MVP Award Winner - Michael Jordan
Stats: 35.8 PPG, 4.8 RPG, 6.5 APG, 1.7 SPG, 0.3 BPG
For the second-straight year, Michael Jordan won the MVP award with the Chicago Bulls and also ended the season with a Finals MVP award. The superstar shooting guard averaged 35.8 PPG in the series, once again taking over the series by outscoring the likes of Clyde Drexler with the Portland Trail Blazers.
Averaging 35.8 PPG on 52.6% shooting and chipping in 6.5 APG, no player was as dominant as the legendary Bulls guard. For years, Clyde Drexler was considered to be Michael Jordan’s main “rival”, but the Bulls superstar took that to heart and completely owned his matchup en route to his second-straight championship.
1992-93 Finals MVP Award Winner - Michael Jordan
Stats: 41.0 PPG, 8.5 RPG, 6.3 APG, 1.7 SPG, 0.7 BPG
Michael Jordan seemed to be getting better each Finals series because the wins would keep piling up as the Bulls guard continued his scoring dominance. The superstar dropped 41.0 PPG on 50.8% shooting, sublime numbers for a perimeter scorer that takes the bulk of the shots. Against a dominant Phoenix Suns squad in the Finals, Jordan had every answer that this opposition threw at him.
Even the great Charles Barkley could not keep up, as Jordan outscored everyone in the Finals yet again. Completing his hat-trick of championships and Finals MVPs already made MJ the greatest of all time, but the shooting guard would not be done just yet, as he would return to dominance after a brief retirement phase.
1993-94 Finals MVP Award Winner - Hakeem Olajuwon
Stats: 26.9 PPG, 9.1 RPG, 3.6 APG, 1.6 SPG, 3.9 BPG
The 1994 season was the year of Hakeem Olajuwon, the best big man and all-around player in the league during Michael Jordan’s retirement. The Dream won MVP by leading the Houston Rockets to the 2nd seed in the West, and the star ranked 3rd in scoring. Of course, Hakeem’s true impact came during an incredible Finals performance for his team.
Thanks to his unstoppable post-game and incredible basketball IQ, Hakeem dominated the Finals against the New York Knicks. Thanks to The Dream’s scoring, which led all players in the series at 26.9 PPG, there was no answer for the Houston Rockets. In an excellent season, Hakeem would go on to win his second-straight title.
1994-95 Finals MVP Award Winner - Hakeem Olajuwon
Stats: 32.8 PPG, 11.5 RPG, 5.5 APG, 2.0 SPG, 2.0 BPG
The legendary San Antonio Spurs legend captured the Finals MVP award in 1995 again, posting monster two-way statistics while leading his team to a convincing sweep of the Orlando Magic in the Finals. In fact, Olajuwon even handled a dominant Shaquille O’Neal shockingly well.
The big men were the biggest story of the series because seeing Olajuwon and O’Neal go head-to-head was extremely exciting. Shaq was the bigger and stronger player by far, but how would he fare against a skilled Olajuwon? We all got the answer because Olajuwon outscored Shaq (32.8 vs. 28.0) and carried the Rockets to another convincing Finals win at the expense of O’Neal and the Magic.
1995-96 Finals MVP Award Winner - Michael Jordan
Stats: 27.3 PPG, 5.3 RPG, 4.2 APG, 1.7 SPG, 0.2 BPG
In the 1996 season, Michael Jordan averaged 30.4 PPG on 49.5% shooting from the field in his first full season following his retirement. But MJ continued that into the playoffs, once again leading the Chicago Bulls into the Finals against the Seattle SuperSonics led by “The Glove”, Gary Payton.
Jordan had somewhat of a “normal” Finals series when looking at his numbers, but he still got the job done by averaging 27.3 PPG on 41.5% shooting. While MJ will categorically deny that Payton’s defense affected Jordan’s numbers and efficiency, it might hold true considering he was terrorizing defenses with over 50% shooting throughout his career. But MJ still got the job done, winning Finals MVP by being the leading scorer and win-shares leader.
1996-97 Finals MVP Award Winner - Michael Jordan
Stats: 32.3 PPG, 7.0 RPG, 6.0 APG, 1.2 SPG, 0.8 BPG
The superstar Chicago Bulls guard was at his best in 1997, clearly getting back to his elite level in terms of efficiency and numbers. Jordan and the Bulls found themselves in the Finals in a matchup against the Utah Jazz, a team led by superstars Karl Malone and John Stockton.
Jordan led all scorers again by posting 32.3 PPG on 45.6% shooting from the field, once again proving there was no answer for him when he was at his best. MJ was not only the most athletic player in the league but the smartest player in the game who started tasting glory again. With 5 championships and 5 Finals MVPs under his belt, MJ would complete his second 3-peat the following year.
1997-98 Finals MVP Award Winner - Michael Jordan
Stats: 33.5 PPG, 4.0 RPG, 2.3 APG, 1.8 SPG, 0.7 BPG
In a Finals rematch, Jordan and the Chicago Bulls took on the Utah Jazz in a 6-game series. Despite the best efforts of Karl Malone (25.0 PPG and 10.5 RPG), the Jazz could not force Jordan and the Bulls to play in a Game 7. But Jordan never played in a Game 7, and it would not happen now.
The GOAT averaged 33.5 PPG 42.7% shooting over the 6 games, leading all scorers and also leading all players in win shares (4.8). It was always going to be written that MJ would capture his 6th NBA title and 6th Finals MVP award because his era of dominance would soon end as players such as Tim Duncan and Shaquille O’Neal would soon take the reigns.
1998-99 Finals MVP Award Winner - Tim Duncan
Stats: 27.4 PPG, 14.0 RPG, 2.4 APG, 1.0 SPG, 2.2 BPG
With Michael Jordan retired for the second time, it was Tim Duncan’s time to impose his talent and dominance in the league. The Big Fundamental managed to usurp the great David Robinson as the best player on the Spurs, and he was given the keys to dominating in the playoffs.
Duncan dominated the Finals, posting a ridiculous double-double and being the greatest enforcer on the court as well. The Spurs finished the New York Knicks in 5 games, with Duncan finishing as the leading scorer twice during the series and the leading rebounder 3 times. The power forward would go on to win a total of 5 rings, but the first came in 1999.
1999-00 Finals MVP Award Winner - Shaquille O’Neal
Stats: 38.0 PPG, 16.7 RPG, 2.3 APG, 1.0 SPG, 2.7 BPG
Shaquille O’Neal won his first and only MVP award during the 2000 season, the same year the big man won his first NBA championship. There is no doubt that Shaq was the best player in the league during the year because he led the Los Angeles Lakers to a league-best 67-15 record alongside Kobe Bryant and completely owned the NBA Finals.
The superstar center posted ridiculous averages of 38.0 PPG, 16.7 RPG, and 2.7 BPG against the Indiana Pacers. The Diesel dismantled any of the opposing bigs: Rik Smits, Dale Davis, and Austin Croshere. There was no answer for Shaq because he was simply stronger and more explosive than anybody else, and the Lakers won in 6 games.