Many players have won an MVP in the same season that their team went on to win the championship. However, there’s only been three people in the history of the NBA to lead the scoring in the regular season along with going on to win the championship in the very same year.
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar for the Milwaukee Bucks in 1971, Shaquille O’Neal in 2000 playing for the Los Angeles Lakers and Michael Jordan for the Chicago Bulls in all six of his championship years.
The three are arguably three of the biggest names in the entire history of NBA. All three in their prime dominated in the way they scored in both the regular season and the playoffs.
In 1971, Kareem was entering just his second ever season in the NBA, he scored a total of 2596 points in the season with an average of 31.7 points per game. Kareem carried the Bucks in the postseason to lead them to a championship after a 4 to nil sweep of the Bullets in the Finals.
Shaq had similar stats to Kareem in the 1999-2000 NBA season with a total of 2344 points and an average of 29.7 points per game. Shaq and Kobe were dominant in the playoffs and in their Finals matches against the Indiana Pacers where the Lakers won the series 4 to 2.
It’s obvious how much of an influence that Michael Jordan had on the Chicago Bulls in the 90’s, leading the franchise to six championships in a decade and winning 5 MVPs and 6 Final MVPs for himself. In each of the six championships, MJ led the scoring for each season, putting himself in the conversation for the Greatest player of All Time.
In the 1992-93 NBA Season, Jordan averaged a total of 32.6 points per game and scored a total of 2541 points in the season. The massive total is still not included in his top 5 scoring seasons, this just shows how dominant Michael Jordan was in his offensive game.
As the 2018-2019 season edges closer, is it possible that we may have a fourth player to join this elite company in leading the scoring in a championship year.