NEW YORK, May 8 – Steve Nash of the Phoenix Suns was named the winner of the Maurice Podoloff Trophy as the NBA’s Most Valuable Player for the 2004-05 season, the NBA announced today.

The 6-3 point guard, who returned this season to Phoenix where he spent the first two years of his career, totaled 1,066 points to narrowly edge out Shaquille O’Neal (1,032 points) of the Miami Heat in MVP voting. The 34-point difference is the fourth-closest voting margin since media began voting on this award in 1980-1981. Rounding out the top-five in voting for MVP were Dallas’ Dirk Nowitzki (349 points), San Antonio’s Tim Duncan (328 points) and Philadelphia’s Allen Iverson (240 points).

A panel of 127 sportswriters and broadcasters throughout the United States and Canada voted for this prestigious award. Players were awarded 10 points for each first-place vote, seven points for each second-place vote, five for third, three for fourth and one for each fifth-place vote received.

The three-time NBA All-Star averaged 15.5 points (.502 FG%) and an NBA-best 11.5 assists in 34.3 minutes per game. The Suns enjoyed a 60-15 record when he was in the lineup this season as he helped guide the team to its first division title since 1994-95 and its fourth overall (1980-81, 1992-93, 1994-95). Nash is one of only seven players since 1970 to notch double figures in assists in 14 or more consecutive games (John Stockton, Magic Johnson, Nate Archibald, Isiah Thomas, Nate Archibald and Kevin Porter).

Nash is in the company of Bob Cousy (1956-57), Oscar Robertson (1963-64), Johnson (1986-87, 1988-89 and 1989-90), Michael Jordan (1990-91, 1992-93, 1995-96, 1997-98) and Allen Iverson (2000-01) as the only guards in NBA history to be named NBA MVP. He is also the fourth player in NBA history to lead the league in assists and win the MVP award in the same season (Cousy, Robertson and then Johnson in 1986-87).
Here's lookin' at you, Steve!
Steve Nash: MVP Photo Gallery
News conference | Nash highlights
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Nash (Canada) is in select company as he joins Hakeem Olajuwon (1993-94, Nigeria) as the only international players to win the award. Nash, who joins Charles Barkley (1992-93) as the only Suns player to receive the NBA’s top individual honor, was named Western Conference Player of the Week on two occasions this season and was named Western Conference Player of the Month for November. Nash was selected to the 2005 NBA Western Conference All-Star Team and also won the PlayStation Skills Challenge at All-Star Weekend in Denver.

Nash posted the NBA’s highest assist average (11.5) in the last decade, the most since Stockton averaged 12.3 assists in 1994-95. Since 1990-91, only Stockton (six times), Johnson (once) and Mark Jackson (once) have averaged 11-plus assists in a season. Three times this season Nash recorded a double-digit assist streak of 11 games or more, including a franchise-best 14-game streak from March 6-April 3. He notched double figures in assists in 59 of 75 games played in the regular season, including 32 of his last 35 games.

The Suns made a remarkable turnaround from last season when the club finished with a disappointing 29-53 (.354) record, the third-worst in franchise history. Their 33-game improvement this season (62-20, .756) ranks as the third greatest turnaround in NBA history behind the Spurs of 1989-90 and 1997-98.

Nash guided the Suns to a league-best 110.4 points per game, up 16.2 points from last season’s 94.2 scoring average. It ranked as the largest increase in team scoring from one season to the next since the advent of the shot clock (1954-55). The previous largest increase was 15.3 points by the Philadelphia Warriors from 1958-59 (103.3) to 1959-60 (118.6) and was due to the presence of rookie Wilt Chamberlain.

The NBA MVP trophy is named in honor of the late Maurice Podoloff, the first commissioner of the NBA who served from 1946 until his retirement in 1963. Attached are the voting results for the 2004-05 NBA Most Valuable Player Award.

2004-05 MOST VALUABLE PLAYER AWARD VOTING RESULTS

Player, Team 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th Pts
Steve Nash, Phoenix 65 54 7 1 0 1066
Shaquille O'Neal, Miami 58 61 3 3 1 1032
Dirk Nowitzki, Dallas 0 4 43 30 16 349
Tim Duncan, San Antonio 1 0 40 33 19 328
Allen Iverson, Philadelphia 2 4 20 23 23 240
LeBron James, Cleveland 0 0 7 11 25 93
Tracy McGrady, Houston 0 1 1 8 8 44
Dwyane Wade, Miami 0 2 2 1 16 43
Ray Allen, Seattle 0 0 2 8 7 41
Amaré Stoudemire, Phoenix 1 1 1 5 4 41
Kevin Garnett, Minnesota 0 0 1 2 4 15
Gilbert Arenas, Washington 0 0 0 1 1 4
Vince Carter, New Jersey 0 0 0 1 0 3
Marcus Camby, Denver 0 0 0 0 1 1
P.J. Brown, New Orleans 0 0 0 0 1 1
Shawn Marion, Phoenix 0 0 0 0 1 1

ALL-TIME MOST VALUABLE PLAYER WINNERS

1955-56: Bob Pettit, St. Louis
1956-57: Bob Cousy, Boston
1957-58: Bill Russell, Boston
1958-59: Bob Pettit, St. Louis
1959-60: Wilt Chamberlain, Philadelphia
1960-61: Bill Russell, Boston
1961-62: Bill Russell, Boston
1962-63: Bill Russell, Boston
1963-64: Oscar Robertson, Cincinnati
1964-65: Bill Russell, Boston
1965-66: Wilt Chamberlain, Philadelphia
1966-67: Wilt Chamberlain, Philadelphia
1967-68: Wilt Chamberlain, Philadelphia
1968-69: Wes Unseld, Baltimore
1969-70: Willis Reed, New York
1970-71: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Milwaukee
1971-72: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Milwaukee
1972-73: Dave Cowens, Boston
1973-74: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Milwaukee
1974-75: Bob McAdoo, Buffalo
1975-76: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Los Angeles
1976-77: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Los Angeles
1977-78: Bill Walton, Portland
1978-79: Moses Malone, Houston
1979-80: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Los Angeles
1980-81: Julius Erving, Philadelphia
1981-82: Moses Malone, Houston
1982-83: Moses Malone, Philadelphia
1983-84: Larry Bird, Boston
1984-85: Larry Bird, Boston
1985-86: Larry Bird, Boston
1986-87: Magic Johnson, LA Lakers
1987-88: Michael Jordan, Chicago
1988-89: Magic Johnson, LA Lakers
1989-90: Magic Johnson, LA Lakers
1990-91: Michael Jordan, Chicago
1991-92: Michael Jordan, Chicago
1992-93: Charles Barkley, Phoenix
1993-94: Hakeem Olajuwon, Houston
1994-95: David Robinson, San Antonio
1995-96: Michael Jordan, Chicago
1996-97: Karl Malone, Utah
1997-98: Michael Jordan, Chicago
1998-99: Karl Malone, Utah
1999-00: Shaquille O'Neal, LA Lakers
2000-01: Allen Iverson, Philadelphia
2001-02: Tim Duncan, San Antonio
2002-03: Tim Duncan, San Antonio
2003-04: Kevin Garnett, Minnesota
2004-05: Steve Nash, Phoenix