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Who have been the NBA Finals MVPs in the past? Who has the most MVPs?

Shortly before the 2022 NBA Finals series begins, we look back at the players who have made the biggest difference when the championship was at stake.

Gidget Alikpala
Shortly before the 2022 NBA Finals series begins, we look back at the players who have made the biggest difference when the championship was at stake.
Andrew D. BernsteinNBAE/Getty Images

The NBA Finals series between the Boston Celtics and the Golden State Warriors will begin on Thursday, and players from both teams will bring their A-game to the campaign for the trophy.

Some players tend to buckle under the immense pressure which comes from having the championship within reach, while others shine and deliver their best numbers at this crucial point in the season.

Those who are able to operate at the absolute highest level in these circumstances are declared the Most Valuable Player of the NBA Finals.

Jerry West makes history

The NBA first handed out this award in 1969 to Jerry West, who is said to have been the inspiration for the logo of the league.

Aside from being the first awardee, West is also known for being the only player to have been honored with the title while being on the losing team.

The league has given this honor 53 times to 31 players, showing that standout athletes often carry out repeat performances.

Chicago Bulls legend Michael Jordan, for example, was named NBA Finals MVP a record six times. LeBron James follows suit with four wins, while Magic Johnson, Shaquille O’Neal, and Tim Duncan each earned the honor three times.

Here is the complete list of NBA Finals MVPs.

1969Jerry WestLos Angeles LakersGuard
1970Willis ReedNew York KnicksCenter/Forward
1971Lew AlcindorMilwaukee BucksCenter
1972Wilt ChamberlainLos Angeles LakersCenter
1973Willis ReedNew York KnicksCenter/Forward
1974John HavlicekBoston CelticsForward/Guard
1975Rick BarryGolden State WarriorsForward
1976Jo Jo WhiteBoston CelticsGuard
1977Bill WaltonPortland Trail BlazersCenter
1978Wes UnseldWashington BulletsCenter/Forward
1979Dennis JohnsonSeattle SuperSonicsGuard
1980Magic JohnsonLos Angeles LakersGuard
1981Cedric MaxwellBoston CelticsCenter
1982Magic JohnsonLos Angeles LakersGuard
1983Moses MalonePhiladelphia 76ersCenter
1984Larry BirdBoston CelticsForward
1985Kareem Abdul-JabbarLos Angeles LakersCenter
1986Larry BirdBoston CelticsForward
1987Magic JohnsonLos Angeles LakersGuard
1988James WorthyLos Angeles LakersForward
1989Joe DumarsDetroit PistonsGuard
1990Isaiah ThomasDetroit PistonsGuard
1991Michael JordanChicago BullsGuard
1992Michael JordanChicago BullsGuard
1993Michael JordanChicago BullsGuard
1994Hakeem OlajuwonHouston RocketsCenter
1995Hakeem OlajuwonHouston RocketsCenter
1996Michael JordanChicago BullsGuard
1997Michael JordanChicago BullsGuard
1998Michael JordanChicago BullsGuard
1999Tim DuncanSan Antonio SpursForward)Center
2000Shaquille O’NealLos Angeles LakersCenter
2001Shaquille O’NealLos Angeles LakersCenter
2002Shaquille O’NealLos Angeles LakersCenter
2003Tim DuncanSan Antonio SpursForward)Center
2004Chauncey BillupsDetroit PistonsGuard
2005Tim DuncanSan Antonio SpursForward)Center
2006Dwayne WadeMiami HeatGuard
2007Tony ParkerSan Antonio SpursGuard
2008Paul PierceBoston CelticsForward
2009Kobe BryantLos Angeles LakersGuard
2010Kobe BryantLos Angeles LakersGuard
2011Dirk NowitzkiDallas MavericksForward
2012LeBron JamesMiami HeatForward
2013LeBron JamesMiami HeatForward
2014Kawhi LeonardSan Antonio SpursForward
2015Andre IguodalaGolden State WarriorsForward/Guard
2016LeBron JamesCleveland CavaliersForward
2017Kevin DurantGolden State WarriorsForward
2018Kevin DurantGolden State WarriorsForward
2019Kawhi LeonardsToronto RaptorsForward
2020LeBron JamesLos Angeles LakersForward
2021Giannis AntetokounmpoMilwaukee BucksForward

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