2019 NBA Finals
2019 NBA Finals

Kawhi Leonard joins elite company in winning Finals MVP

Raptors forward one of three players to win award with different teams

From NBA.com Staff

Jun 14, 2019 12:02 AM ET


Kawhi Leonard was named 2019 Finals MVP, matching his feat with the Spurs in 2014.

Make some room, LeBron James and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. Kawhi Leonard has just moved into your Finals neighborhood.

Leonard delivered the Toronto Raptors to their first championship on Thursday, posting 22 points, six rebounds and three assists to power a 114-110 win over the Golden State Warriors in Game 6 of The Finals.

Leonard was dominant in the series, averaging 28.5 points, 9.8 rebounds, 4.2 assists, 2.0 blocks and 1.2 steals.

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, LeBron James and Kawhi Leonard have all accomplished the same Finals feat.

Those efforts helped Leonard secure the Bill Russell Finals MVP Award for the second time in his career. His first came as a member of the San Antonio Spurs' championship squad in 2014. In winning a second with the Raptors, he joins Abdul-Jabbar and James as the only players to earn Finals MVPs with two different franchises.

Here's a look at how each of them stacked up in their Finals MVP runs:

Players to win Finals MVP with multiple franchises
PlayerTeamFinals Series StatsMVP
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Bucks27 ppg | 18.5 rpg | 2.8 apg1971 (Bucks defeat Bullets, 4-0)
Kareem Abdul-JabbarLakers25.7 ppg | 9.0 rpg | 5.2 apg | 1.0 spg | 1.5 bpg1985 (Lakers defeat Celtics, 4-2)
LeBron JamesHeat28.6 ppg | 10.2 rpg | 7.4 apg | 1.6 spg | 0.4 bpg2012 (Heat defeat Thunder, 4-1)
LeBron JamesHeat25.3 ppg | 10.9 rpg | 7.0 apg | 2.3 spg | 0.9 bpg2013 (Heat defeat Spurs, 4-3)
LeBron JamesCavs29.7 ppg | 11.3 rpg | 8.9 apg | 2.6 spg | 2.3 bpg2016 (Cavs defeat Warriors, 4-3)
Kawhi LeonardSpurs17.8 ppg | 6.4 rpg | 2.0 apg | 1.6 spg | 1.2 bpg2014 (Spurs defeat Heat, 4-1)
Kawhi LeonardRaptors28.5 ppg | 9.8 rpg | 4.2 apg | 2.0 spg | 1.2 bpg2019 (Raptors defeat Warriors, 4-2)

(Note: Blocks per game not an official NBA stat until 1973-74 season.)

Aside from that honor, Leonard also becomes the 12th player in NBA history to win two or more Finals MVP awards overall in their career. Of the 11 previous players on that list, seven of them are in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. 

Additionally, Leonard became the fourth player to win Finals MVP honors in his first season with a team, joining Johnson (1979-80), Moses Malone (1982-83, Philadelphia 76ers) and Kevin Durant (2016-17, Warriors).

The previous multiple Finals MVP winners in NBA history are Willis Reed (1970, '73); Kareem Abdul-Jabbar ('71, '85); Magic Johnson ('80, '82, '87); Larry Bird ('84, '86); Michael Jordan ('91-93, '96-98); Hakeem Olajuwon ('94, '95); Tim Duncan ('98, 2003, '05); Shaquille O'Neal ('00-02); Kobe Bryant ('09, '10); LeBron James ('12, '13, '16) and Kevin Durant ('17, '18). 

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