Only 10 players in NBA history can say they thoroughly dominated a season from start to finish.
Sure, there are a bevy of players who have won championships and put up stellar numbers in the regular season and playoffs, but only 10 NBA legends can say they won MVP and Finals MVP in the same season.
With that said, we take a look at the 10 players who won both MVP and Finals MVP in one campaign.
1. Willis Reed (1970)
During the 1969-70 regular season, Willis Reed averaged 21.7 points, 13.9 rebounds, and 2.0 assists for the New York Knicks in 81 games. The Hall of Famer shot 50.7 percent from the field and 75.6 percent from the free-throw line. Reed won the MVP Award over the logo, Jerry West.
In the 1970 playoffs, the Knicks won the championship over the Los Angeles Lakers in seven games, with Reed capturing the Finals MVP Award. He put up 23.0 points, 10.5 boards and 2.8 assists in the series, but was only able to play in six games due to injury.
2. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (1971)
The greatest scorer in NBA history, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar won the 1971 regular-season MVP Award with the Milwaukee Bucks. The 19-time All-Star and six-time NBA champion won six MVPs 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 MVP and Finals MVP in the same season. He averaged 31.7 points, 16.0 rebounds, and 3.3 assists in the regular season, winning MVP over West.
In the 1971 Finals, the Bucks defeated the Baltimore Bullets in four games. Abdul-Jabbar put up 27.0 points, 18.5 boards, and 2.8 assists in the four-game sweep to take home the Finals MVP Award.
3. Moses Malone (1983)
One of the most lethal rebounders in NBA history, Moses Malone averaged 24.5 points, 15.3 rebounds, and 2.0 blocks for the Philadelphia 76ers during the 1982-83 regular season. He won MVP over Boston Celtics legend Larry Bird.
In the ’83 playoffs, the Sixers swept the Lakers in the Finals to win the championship. Malone put up 25.8 points, 18.0 rebounds, and 2.0 assists to capture the Finals MVP trophy.
4. Larry Bird (1984, 1986)
Larry Bird won three MVP awards, three NBA titles and two Finals MVPs during his historic run with the Celtics.
During the 1983-84 season, Bird averaged 24.2 points, 10.1 boards, and 6.6 assists to win MVP over Bernard King. The Celtics defeated the Lakers in the ’84 Finals in seven hard-fought games. Larry Legend put up 27.4 points, 14.0 rebounds, and 3.6 assists to win Finals MVP.
Bird was up to his usual tricks again in the 1985-86 season. The Hall of Famer won MVP by averaging 25.8 points, 9.8 rebounds, and 6.8 assists. Bird and the Celtics then defeated the Houston Rockets in the ’86 Finals. The NBA icon finished the series with averages of 24.0 points, 9.7 rebounds, and 9.5 assists to capture Finals MVP.
5. Magic Johnson (1987)
Arguably the best point guard in NBA history, Magic Johnson won three MVPs and three Finals MVPs with the Lakers.
However, the 1986-87 campaign was when Johnson won MVP and Finals MVP. Magic averaged 23.9 points, 6.3 rebounds, and 12.2 assists in the regular season. The Lakers then won the 1987 title over the Celtics thanks to Johnson, who put up 26.2 points, 8.0 boards, and 13.0 assists in the Finals.
6. Michael Jordan (1991, 1992, 1996, 1998)
Michael Jordan won six titles, six Finals MVPs, and five MVP Awards with the Chicago Bulls during the ’90s. What’s even more impressive is that His Airness won both MVP and Finals MVP in four different seasons.
Jordan and the Bulls won their first championship in 1991 over Johnson and the Lakers. During the 1990-91 regular season, MJ averaged 31.5 points, 6.0 rebounds, and 5.5 assists to win the MVP Award. Jordan then put up 31.2 points, 6.6 boards, and 11.4 assists in the Finals for his first Finals MVP.
The next season (1991-92), Jordan averaged 30.1 points, 6.4 rebounds, and 6.1 assists to win MVP. MJ and the Bulls defeated the Portland Trail Blazers in the Finals for Chicago’s second-straight championship. Jordan put up 35.8 points, 4.8 boards and 6.5 assists in the Finals.
During the 1995-96 season, Jordan and the Bulls won 72 games in the regular season. MJ got MVP by averaging 30.4 points, 6.6 rebounds, and 4.3 assists. Chicago finished its magical season by winning the ’96 Finals in six games over Gary Payton and the Seattle SuperSonics. Jordan won his fourth title and fourth Finals MVP Award on Father’s Day. MJ cried in the locker room since his dad wasn’t around, but James Jordan was surely looking down on his son that day.
Jordan’s final MVP, Finals MVP, and NBA championship came in 1997-98. The Bulls legend averaged 28.7 points, 5.8 rebounds and 3.5 assists in the regular season and 33.5 points, 4.0 rebounds and 2.3 assists in the Finals against the Utah Jazz.
7. Hakeem Olajuwon (1994)
In 1993-94, Hakeem Olajuwon was a monster. The Dream averaged 27.3 points and 11.9 rebounds to win MVP, but his work wasn’t done yet.
The Rockets took down the Knicks in seven games in the ’94 Finals, with Olajuwon getting the best of Patrick Ewing. Hakeem put up 26.9 points, 9.1 rebounds, and 3.6 assists.
8. Shaquille O’Neal (2000)
Arguably the most dominant player in NBA history, Shaquille O’Neal averaged 29.7 points and 13.6 rebounds to win the 2000 MVP.
The Lakers needed six games, but the team defeated the Indiana Pacers in the 2000 Finals. Shaq put up 38.0 points and 16.7 rebounds, easily winning the Finals MVP trophy.
9. Tim Duncan (2003)
Tim Duncan averaged 23.3 points and 12.9 rebounds during the 2002-03 regular season to take home MVP honors.
The San Antonio Spurs then beat the New Jersey Nets in six games in the 2003 Finals, with Duncan putting up 24.2 points, 17.0 boards, and 5.3 assists.
10. LeBron James (2012, 2013)
LeBron James won two titles with the Miami Heat in 2012 and 2013. He got MVP and Finals MVP both years as well.
In 2011-12, LeBron put up 27.1 points, 7.9 rebounds, and 6.2 assists during the lockout-shortened season. The King then torched the Oklahoma City Thunder for averages of 28.6 points, 10.2 rebounds, and 7.4 assists in the 2012 Finals.
During the 2012-13 campaign, James averaged 26.8 points, 8.0 boards, and 7.3 assists to win MVP again. The Heat needed a miracle shot by Ray Allen in Game 6 of the 2013 Finals against the Spurs to send the series to a seventh game, where LeBron just took over.
James put up 25.3 points, 10.9 boards, and 7.0 assists in the seven-game series to win his second-straight Finals MVP.