Skip to main content

Only NBA Players Who Won The Championship, MVP Award, And Finals MVP In The Same Season: LeBron James Is The Latest Player To Achieve This

  • Author:
  • Updated:
    Original:
Only NBA Players Who Won The Championship, MVP Award, And Finals MVP In The Same Season: LeBron James Is The Latest Player To Achieve This

We have seen greatness on the basketball court for as long as we can remember. Every era has had some amazing players dominate the game, which is the case today. Individual accolades and team accolades often dictate a player's success in the league, and it gives the fans unlimited talking points when comparing careers. But there are only a handful of players that have managed to capture the most amazing achievements. In fact, only 10 players in NBA history have managed to capture the MVP, NBA championship, and Finals MVP in the same season.

Winning the MVP award alone is difficult because it means that a player was above the rest in terms of impact and individual dominance during the 82-game season. The MVP award is also the most recognized and established individual accolade for NBA players because it establishes dominance and value for their teams. Of course, the eternal goal for every NBA player is to win an NBA championship, and very few players have ever won the title and MVP in the same season. Of course, a player competing in the NBA Finals is looking to win the Finals MVP award, the MVP award of a Finals series.

It is time to discover the only players in NBA history that have won all three awards in the same season. This can be called a trifecta season because the three most important accolades won by players are historical and extremely important for a player’s career. It will be amazing to realize that a particular player managed this feat four times, and only three players have managed to achieve this feat more than once. It is time to list the 10 players in NBA history who have won the NBA title, regular-season MVP award, and Finals MVP award in the same season.


10. Willis Reed - 1 Time

The Game Where Willis Reed Became A Legend: Game 7 of the 1970 NBA Finals

Season: 1969-70

Willis Reed was the first player ever to earn the impressive achievement of winning the MVP, NBA championship, and Finals MVP in the same season

The New York Knicks legend had his best season yet in 1970 when he posted 21.7 PPG, 13.9 RPG, and 2.0 APG through 81 games for the Knicks. The Hall of Fame big man also managed to beat out the legendary Jerry West for the MVP award during the year.

As expected, Jerry West would get a chance to exact revenge against Reed, who beat him out in the regular-season MVP race. But West and the Lakers would fall to second place again, as the Knicks won in 7 games despite Reed only playing in 6 due to injury. Willis still earned Finals MVP honors by posting 23.0 PPG, 10.5 RPG, and 2.8 APG against West, who posted 31.3 PPG and 7.7 APG. In certainly a wild Finals matchup and an excellent season for Reed, the big man always left his big performances for the big moments, which is why he earned Finals MVP honors.


9. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar - 1 Time

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

Season: 1970-71

The current leading scorer in NBA history, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, won the 1971 regular-season MVP award as a member of the Milwaukee Bucks. The 19-time All-Star and 6-time NBA champion won 6 MVP awards during his Hall of Fame career and two Finals MVPs with the Bucks and Lakers. However, the 1971 season was the only time Abdul-Jabbar won the NBA championship, MVP, and Finals MVP in the same season. He averaged 31.7 PPG, 16.0 RPG, and 3.3 APG on 57.7% FG in the regular season, winning the MVP award over Jerry West.

In the 1971 Finals, the Milwaukee Bucks went into a showdown with the Baltimore Bullets in four games. The undisputed best player in the series, Abdul-Jabbar, put up 27.0 PPG, 18.5 RPG, and 2.8 APG in the four-game sweep to take home the Finals MVP Award. It is always important to remind NBA fans how dominant Kareem was in his career, especially earlier on, because his accolades and impact on the game might be second-to-none at his position.


8. Moses Malone - 1 Time

Moses Malone

Season: 1982-83

One of the most dominant paint presences and rebounders in NBA history, Moses Malone averaged 24.5 PPG, 15.3 RPG, and 2.0 BPG for the Philadelphia 76ers during the 1982-83 regular season. He won the MVP onward ver Boston Celtics legend Larry Bird, a forward who held his own with averages of 23.6 PPG, 11.0 RPG, and 5.8 APG. In the 1982-83 Finals, the Sixers swept the Lakers in the Finals to win the championship. The superstar center led the way by putting up 25.8 PPG, 18.0 RPG, 2.0 APG, and 1.5 BPG to capture the Finals MVP trophy.

The late and great Moses Malone did not always make the game look pretty, but he dominated the court like very few players who ever could. The legend was quick to grab rebounds, get easy putbacks, and use his size to be a paint prorector as well. Fellow superstar Julius Erving was one of the top players in the league for a while, but his only NBA championship came when Moses Malone led the way. No doubt about it, Malone is one of the top-20 players ever and his 1983 season is a testament to that.


7. Magic Johnson - 1 Time

Magic Johnson

Season: 1986-87

Easily the greatest point guard in NBA history, Magic Johnson won three MVPs and three Finals MVPs with the Lakers. Thanks to his incredible size at his position and excellent all-around game, the legendary Lakers guard dominated the court with floor leadership and offensive brilliance. We have yet to see a point guard control the pace of games better than Magic, and his accomplishments are truly extraordinary. The one that stands out most might be his rookie season, where Magic won Finals MVP and captured the NBA title. But he did not win the MVP that year, as the only time he won all three individual awards came in 1987.

Magic averaged 23.9 PPG, 6.3 RPG, 12.2 APG, and 1.7 SPG in the regular season. The Lakers then won the 1987 title over the Celtics thanks to their magical point guard, who put up 26.2 PPG, 8.0 RPG, and 13.0 APG in the Finals. Johnson outplayed Larry Bird across from him and also led his side in points, rebounds, assists, and steals. Johnson had some incredible performances over his postseason career, but his 1987 season could be his best ever when looking at the totality of his achievements.


6. Hakeem Olajuwon - 1 Time

Hakeem Olajuwon 1991-92

Season: 1993-94

In the 1993-94 season, there was no doubt that Hakeem Olajuwon was the most dominant player in the league. The Dream had been at the top-5, arguably, for years, but it took Michael Jordan’s retirement before the big man made his mark in NBA history. The superstar center averaged 27.3 PPG, 11.9 RPG, 3.6 APG, and 3.7 BPG for the Houston Rockets to win MVP, but his work wasn’t done yet. Guiding Houston to a 58-24 record, Hakeem was ready for some silverware.

The Rockets took down the Knicks in seven games in the 1994 Finals, with Olajuwon getting the best of Patrick Ewing. Hakeem averaged 26.9 PPG, 9.1 RPG, 3.6 APG, 1.6 SPG, and 3.9 BPG in the series, posting a game-high 25 points in the pivotal Game 7. We have yet to see a center with better footwork than Olajuwon, a reason why he occupies the majority of top-12 lists from most pundits and fans across the world.


5. Shaquille O’Neal - 1 Time

Shaquille O'Neal

Season: 1999-00

Arguably the most dominant player in NBA history since Wilt Chamberlain, Shaquille O’Neal averaged 29.7 PPG, 13.6 RPG, 3.8 APG, and 3.0 BPG on 57.4% shooting from the field to win the 2000 MVP. Quite frankly, there was no answer for the big man down low because he was simply bigger, stronger, and more aggressive than anyone he came up against. The Diesel made the game look too easy, a reason why he will go down in history as a top-10 player of all time. But the regular season was not the stopping point for the Lakers’ franchise player.

The Lakers needed six games to win the NBA title in the 2000 Finals, but the team defeated the Indiana Pacers with the center posting ridiculous numbers. As expected, there was no answer for Shaq, who posted 38.0 PPG, 16.7 RPG, 2.3 APG, and 2.7 BPG, easily winning the Finals MVP trophy. O’Neal had some help in Kobe Bryant (15.6 PPG and 4.6 RPG), but it was all about the big man, and he left no doubt who the best player in the league was at the time.


4. Tim Duncan - 1 Time

Tim Duncan 2009

Season: 2002-03

The greatest power forward of all time, Tim Duncan averaged 23.3 PPG, 12.9 RPG, 3.9 APG, 0.7 SPG, and 2.9 BPG on 51.3% FG during the 2002-03 regular season to take home MVP honors as a member of the San Antonio Spurs. The Big Fundamental was already the best player on the Spurs by his rookie season, and he would prove it just a few years later by capturing his second-straight MVP award. The reason the 2003 season sticks out over the 2002 season was that Duncan captured the NBA title and Finals MVP as well.

The San Antonio Spurs defeated the New Jersey Nets in six games in the 2003 Finals, with Duncan putting up 24.2 PPG, 17.0 RPG, 5.3 APG, 1.0 SPG, and 5.3 BPG. Clearly, the big man’s numbers were ridiculous, and there was no answer for him on both ends of the floor. This was arguably Duncan at his absolute best because he was not only an unstoppable scorer in the paint, but he locked down the paint and gave his side the best chance to win every Finals game.


3. Larry Bird - 2 Times

Larry Bird

Seasons: 1983-84, 1985-86

The first player to manage the MVP, Finals MVP, and NBA championship in one season on two different occasions, was superstar Larry Bird. In his prime, Bird was on another stratosphere. Before LeBron James and his incredible longevity changed the NBA, Bird was the undisputed best small forward ever. Larry Bird won three MVP awards, three NBA titles, and two Finals MVPs during his historic career with the Boston Celtics. During the 1983-84 season, Bird averaged 24.2 PPG, 10.1 RPG, and 6.6 APG to win MVP over Bernard King. The Celtics defeated the Lakers in the 1984 Finals in seven hard-fought games. Larry Legend averaged 27.4 PPG, 14.0 RPG, 3.6 APG, and 2.1 SPG on 48.4% FG to win Finals MVP.

Bird would win the MVP award in 1985 as well, but the Los Angeles Lakers would take home the NBA championship with Kareem Abdul-Jabbar earning Finals MVP honors. But that would be short-lived, as the Hall of Famer would win the MVP again in 1986 by averaging 25.8 PPG, 9.8 RPG, 6.8 APG, and 2.0 SPG on 49.6% FG. Bird and the Celtics then found themselves in the NBA Finals again, defeating the Houston Rockets in six games. Larry Legend finished the series with averages of 24.0 PPG, 9.7 RPG, and 9.5 APG to capture his second Finals MVP.


2. LeBron James - 2 Times

LeBron James

Seasons: 2011-12, 2012-13

LeBron James is the latest player to win the MVP, NBA title, and Finals MVP in the same season. In fact, he did it twice as a member of the Miami Heat in 2012 and 2013. In the 2011-12 season, following the unbelievable Finals meltdown of 2011, LeBron put up 27.1 PPG, 7.9 RPG, and 6.2 APG during the lockout-shortened season while solidifying himself as the undisputed best player in the game. Armed with elite athleticism, basketball IQ, and a newly found aggressive mentality, The King took care of business in the playoffs to face the Oklahoma City Thunder in the NBA Finals. The young Thunder were not ready for the “heat” and fell to the hands of The King, who posted averages of 28.6 PPG, 10.2 RPG, and 7.4 APG in the 2012 Finals.

During the 2012-13 campaign, James averaged 26.8 PPG, 8.0 RPG, and 7.3 APG to win MVP for his second-straight time with Miami and the 4th time in total. The 2013 Finals might be one of the most renowned ever because it took a magical shot from Ray Allen in Game 6 to force a Game 7 against the San Antonio Spurs. Spurs fans cringe when remembering this moment (Skip Bayless specifically), but it gave LeBron the juice he needed to take over in Game 7. James had one of his best games ever, posting 37 points and closing out the Spurs. Over the 7 games, James averaged 25.3 PPG, 10.9 RPG, and 7.0 APG to win his second-straight Finals MVP.


Michael Jordan - 4 Times

Michael Jordan

Seasons: 1990-91, 1991-92, 1995-96, 1997-98

The undisputed greatest player of all time, Michael Jordan won 6 NBA titles, 6 Finals MVPs, and 5 MVP Awards as a member of the Chicago Bulls during the late 1980s and 1990s. What’s even more impressive is that His Airness won both MVP and Finals MVP in four different seasons, the only player in NBA history to have achieved the feat more than twice. Yet another milestone for the most incredible athlete in team sports history. Jordan and the Chicago Bulls won their first championship in 1991 over Magic Johnson and the Lakers, the first time MJ broke through and became king of the NBA. During the 1990-91 regular season, MJ averaged 31.5 PPG, 6.0 RPG, and 5.5 APG to win the MVP Award, followed by 31.2 PPG, 6.6 RPG, and 11.4 APG in the Finals for his first Finals MVP.

The following season in 1991-92, Jordan averaged 30.1 PPG, 6.4 RPG, and 6.1 APG to win the MVP award again. Jordan and the Bulls defeated the Portland Trail Blazers in the Finals for Chicago’s second-straight championship, with Jordan outplaying Clyde Drexler and posting 35.8 PPG, 4.8 RPG, and 6.5 APG in the Finals. Once again, there was no doubt that Jordan was the king of the basketball world yet again. MJ would not win the MVP during the 1993 championship season and would be in retirement during the 1994 and 1995 seasons.

During the 1995-96 season, Jordan returned to NBA action, and the Bulls won 72 games in the regular season. MJ easily earned the MVP award by averaging 30.4 PPG, 6.6 RPG, and 4.3 APG. Chicago finished the record-breaking season by winning the 1996 Finals in Game 6 over Gary Payton and the Seattle SuperSonics. Jordan won his 4th title and 4th Finals MVP Award on Father’s Day, a moment where NBA fans remember Jordan crying in the locker room.

Finally, Michael Jordan’s final MVP, 6th Finals MVP, and 6th NBA championship came in 1997-98. The Bulls legend averaged 28.7 PPG, 5.8 RPG, and 3.5 APG in the regular season and 33.5 PPG, 4.0 RPG, and 2.3 APG in the Finals against the Utah Jazz. What a way to cap off another championship season because MJ took home a trifecta of trophies that made history because no other player has won the MVP, Finals MVP, and NBA title in the same season more than two times.

Next

Only NBA Players With 4+ Championships And 2+ MVP Awards: Stephen Curry Joins 6 Legends

LeBron James' NBA Playoffs Resume Is Incredible: The King Played In The 10 NBA Finals, Winning 4 NBA Championships

Larry Bird's Stats For Each Season: Consistency Was The Key, He Dominated In His Own Way

Magic Johnsons' Career Record vs. NBA Legends: Only Michael Jordan And Scottie Pippen Won Their Head-To-Head Matchups Against Magic

The Most Points Scored In A Playoff Game By Tiers: Michael Jordan's 63-Point Performance Is Still Untouchable