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Winning MVP No. 2: How players fared in playoffs in second MVP run

From NBA.com Staff

Giannis Antetokounmpo was already in elite company in winning the Kia MVP in 2018-19, becoming the first Bucks player to win the award since Kareem Abdul-Jabbar in 1973-74. Antetokounmpo also tied Steve Nash (No. 15 pick in 1996) as the lowest-drafted player to win MVP honors (Antetokounmpo was the No. 15 pick of the 2013 draft).

He joins a whole new group of NBA legends in winning his second career NBA MVP. Abdul-Jabbar, Nash, Stephen Curry, LeBron James, Tim Duncan, Michael Jordan, Karl Malone, Magic Johnson, Larry Bird, Moses Malone, Wilt Chamberlain, Bill Russell and Bob Pettit also all won two (or more) MVPs in their Hall of Fame careers.

Antetokounmpo, however, has yet to reach a NBA Finals and his Milwaukee Bucks were eliminated by the Miami Heat in the semifinals of the 2020 playoffs.

Here’s a look back at how each player’s team fared in the playoffs in his second MVP season.

NBA MVP winner’s playoff run, 2nd MVP season
Player Team First MVP Playoff result Second MVP Playoff result
Bob Pettit Hawks 1955-56 Lost to Pistons in West finals 1958-59 Lost to Lakers in West finals
Bill Russell Celtics 1957-58 Lost in Hawks in The Finals 1960-61 Won NBA championship
Wilt Chamberlain Warriors 1959-60 Lost to Celtics in East finals 1965-66 Lost to Celtics in East finals
Kareem Abdul Jabbar Bucks 1970-71 Won NBA championship 1971-72 Lost to Lakers in West finals
Moses Malone Rockets 1978-79 Lost to Hawks in first round 1981-82 Lost to Sonics in first round
Larry Bird Celtics 1983-84 Won NBA championship 1984-85 Lost to Lakers in The Finals
Magic Johnson Lakers 1986-87 Won NBA championship 1988-89 Lost to Pistons in The Finals
Michael Jordan Bulls 1987-88 Lost to Pistons in East semifinals 1990-91 Won NBA championship
Karl Malone Jazz 1996-97 Lost to Bulls in The Finals 1998-99 Lost to Blazers in West semifinals
Tim Duncan Spurs 2001-02 Lost to Lakers in West semifinals 2002-03 Won NBA championship
Steve Nash Suns 2004-05 Lost to Spurs in West finals 2005-06 Lost to Mavs in West finals
LeBron James Cavs 2008-09 Lost to Magic in East finals 2009-10 Lost to Celtics in East semifinals
Stephen Curry Warriors 2014-15 Won NBA championship 2015-16 Lost to Cavs in The Finals
Giannis Antetokounmpo Bucks 2018-19 Lost to Raptors in East finals 2019-20 Lost to Heat in East semifinals

And, of course, championship rings are always on the minds of fans. Here’s a look at when each two-time (or more) MVP won (or didn’t win) his first NBA title after securing an NBA MVP trophy.

Players with 2+ MVPs in Finals
Player Number of MVPs Teams (Number of times) First NBA title after winning MVP (Team)
Bob Pettit 2 St. Louis Hawks 1957-58 (Hawks)
Bill Russell * 5 Boston Celtics 1960-61 (Celtics)
Wilt Chamberlain 4 Philadelphia Warriors (1), Philadelphia 76ers (3) 1971-72 (Lakers)
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar * 6 Milwaukee Bucks (2), Los Angeles Lakers (4) 1970-71 (Bucks)
Moses Malone * 3 Houston Rockets (2), Philadelphia 76ers (1) 1982-83 (76ers)
Larry Bird* 3 Boston Celtics 1983-84 (Celtics)
Magic Johnson* 3 Los Angeles Lakers 1986-87 (Lakers)
Michael Jordan * 5 Chicago Bulls 1990-91 (Bulls)
Karl Malone 2 Utah Jazz Never won NBA championship
Tim Duncan * 2 San Antonio Spurs 2002-03 (Spurs)
Steve Nash 2 Phoenix Suns Never won NBA championship
LeBron James * 4 Cleveland Cavaliers (2), Miami Heat (2) 2011-12 (Heat)
Stephen Curry * 2 Golden State Warriors 2014-15 (Warriors)
* = was MVP & Finals MVP in same season

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