Winning the MVP award is one of the biggest milestones any player could ever achieve, as it’s the ultimate recognition of a full year of hardnosed efforts to lift their teams past every opposition.
There’s no clear criteria whether how the MVP award should be given. Some state it should go to the best player in the league, some to the best player on the best team, and some to the player that has the more impact, regardless of how far he can lead the team throughout the season.
Either way, someone’s not going to be pleased regardless of who wins the award, but nobody could disagree with any of the players that have ever won this prestigious piece of silverware, even if it goes to a young baller’s hands.
See, young players have been as impressive as already proven veterans throughout basketball history, and today, we’re going to let you know about the top 10 youngest MVP winners in NBA history.
Michael Jordan: 25 years old
Michael Jordan wrote his name on basketball history after he took major revenge for being snubbed of the MVP the prior year, winning both the MVP and the Defensive Player of the Year award during the 1987-88 season, as well as the steals and scoring title.
Jordan proved everybody that he was set to dominate the league on a level nobody had ever done it before, posting season averages of 35 points, 5.5 rebounds, 5.9 assists and 3.2 steals per game.
Oscar Robertson: 25 years old
Oscar Robertson was always a huge entertainer and a guy capable of filling the stat sheet with great ease on a nightly basis, something that granted him the MVP award when he lead the Cincinnati Royals to the 2nd seed in the East at age 25.
The Big O posted averages of 31.4 points and a league leading 11 dimes to go along with an 85% shooting from the charity stripe, but he wouldn’t peak until he made the move to the Milwaukee Bucks.
10. LeBron James: 24 years old
LeBron James was a major stud out of the gate with the Cleveland Cavaliers, becoming a one-man show after he led the team in points, assists, steals, blocks and rebounds; the 4th player to ever do so up to that date.
James would win a well-deserved MVP award at just 24 years old before becoming the 10th player in NBA history to win back-to-back MVPs, but he would still have to go a long way before becoming an NBA Champion.
9. Moses Malone: 24 years old
Moses Malone is considered to be one of the greatest basketball players in history, dominating both the ABA and the NBA as one of the deadliest scorers this game has ever seen and winning 3 MVP awards.
The first one of those accolades would come a couple of years before he was finally able to take the Houston Rockets all the way to the finals, winning the award after leading the league with 17.6 rebounds to go along with 25.8 points a night.
8. Dave Cowens: 24 years old
Dave Cowens’ game took a major downfall as years went by, but it was until his 4th NBA season where it seems like he finally peaked while leading the Celtics to a league-leading 68-14 record thanks to his averages of 20.5 points and 16.2 rebounds per game.
Cowens would go on to win not only the MVP award, but also the All-Star MVP, but was never able to successfully sustain that kind of incredible performances towards the ladder passages of his career.
7. Lew Alcindor: 24 years old
Lew Alcindor, also known as Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, took the league right out of the gate next to Oscar Robertson, leading the Milwaukee Bucks to a Championship in just his 2nd season in the NBA.
During that year, he would average a league best 31.7 points to go along with 16 rebounds a game, winning the 1st of his league-leading 6 MVP awards, a milestone unlikely to be ever matched.
6. Bill Russell: 24 years old
Being a rookie, Bill Russell was already making huge strides in the NBA, proving that he was going to be one of the most successful players ever and winning the 1st of his 5 MVP awards, although he wasn’t able to put the cherry on top of the sundae with a Championship.
Throughout that year, a 24-year-old Bill Russell would lead the league in rebounds per game with 22.7 boards a contest, even recording a 49 rebound game despite being one of the youngest players in the league.
5. Bob Pettit: 24 years old
Back in the day, Bob Pettit was one of the most dominant scorers and rebounders in the league, something that would eventually make him the proud owner of not one, but two MVP awards on his cabinet.
During his sophomore season, he would go on to impress basketball fans all over the world, posting averages of 25.7 points and 16.2 rebounds a night, becoming a well-deserved MVP winner.
4. Wilt Chamberlain: 23 years old
Besides Ben Unseld and Bob McAdoo, Wilt Chamberlain also won the MVP accolade at age 23, the first of his 4 awards after also winning the Rookie of the Year on that very same season, completely dominating the league before falling against Bill Russell on the finals.
Chamberlain owns some of the most impressive records in the history of basketball, highlighted by his 100 point game, and his rookie averages of 37.6 points and 27 rebounds are unlikely to be matched ever by any other MVP.
3. Bob McAdoo: 23 years old
Bob McAdoo is one of the most underrated big men in NBA history. Through his career, he played for Buffalo Braves, New York Knicks, Boston Celtics, Detroit Pistons, New Jersey Nets, Los Angeles Lakers and Philadelphia Sixers. He is the last player (1973-74) who averaged 30.0 points and 15.0 rebounds in the season.
Just one year later, he won the NBA MVP Award, averaging amazing 34.5 points, 14.1 rebounds and 2.12 blocks per game with 51.2% FG and 80.5% FT.
2. Wes Unseld: 23 years old
Wes Unseld is the best player in Washington Bullets/Wizards history, even though that he averaged 10.8 points and 14.0 rebounds per game.
He became the second player ever to win the Rookie of the Year Award and the MVP Award in the same year (Wilt Chamberlain was 1st) while averaging 13.8 points, 18.2 rebounds and 2.6 assists per game.
He was undersized (6'7") center with a great strength and he was the Round Mound of Rebound before Charles Barkley came in the NBA.
1. Derrick Rose: 22 years old
A young Derrick Rose made his way to the MVP award just a couple of years after he won the Rookie of the Year, winning it at 22 years and 5 months old as the youngest player ever to achieve this milestone.
Rose was an explosive beast, Westbrook before Westbrook, a deadly scorer that could torch all opposition with his quick first step, strength and athleticism, and his averages of 25 points and 7.7 dimes a game en route to a 62-20 record definitely granted him this award.