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NBA players who have won back-to-back MVP awards

Giannis Antetokounmpo #34 of the Milwaukee Bucks and Stephen Curry #30 of the Golden State Warriors.
Giannis Antetokounmpo #34 of the Milwaukee Bucks and Stephen Curry #30 of the Golden State Warriors.
Victor R. Lopez M.

Winning the NBA MVP award is the most prestigious honor a player can receive for his regular-season level. To win the NBA MVP award is a great achievement for any NBA athlete, and to win it consecutively is reserved for a few superstars. Giannis Antetokounmpo of the Milwaukee Bucks is the reigning two-time MVP and the most recent player to win the prize in back-to-back seasons.

Giannis became the 12th player in NBA history to win the MVP in consecutive seasons when he received the award at the end of the 2019-20 campaign. In this piece, we will give you the full list of back-to-back winners of the NBA MVP.

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Every back to back NBA MVP winner in league history

In the 2020-21 NBA season, Antetokounmpo might be making a quiet case for his third consecutive NBA MVP award in the 2020-21 NBA season, but there is still a long way to go before the season ends. If he manages to achieve that, he will enter an even more exclusive list.

For now, here is every back-to-back winner of the NBA MVP award, from the most recent one to the first player ever to do it.


Giannis Antetokounmpo - 2018-19 and 2019-20 NBA MVP

Giannis Antetokounmpo of the Milwaukee Bucks.
Giannis Antetokounmpo of the Milwaukee Bucks.

Number 34 for the Milwaukee Bucks has made tremendous progress since being drafted in 2013. Giannis Antetokounmpo has developed into one of the best players in the league and was named MVP in each of the last two campaigns.

The Greek superstar won his first NBA MVP after averaging 27.7 points, 12.5 rebounds, and 5.9 assists per game with a field-goal percentage of 58% in the 2018-19 season.

The following season, Antetokounmpo improved his numbers, averaging 29.5 points, 13.6 rebounds, and 5.6 assists on 55% shooting from the field.

Antetokounmpo also finished second in the NBA Defensive Player of the Year voting in 2019, and then became the fifth player to win both, MVP and the Defensive Player of the Year award.


Stephen Curry - 2014-15 and 2015-16 NBA MVP

Curry made a record 402 three-pointers in the 2015-16 season.
Curry made a record 402 three-pointers in the 2015-16 season.

The Golden State Warriors' rise to the top coincided with Stephen Curry's ascension to the pinnacle of basketball. Before he led the franchise to their first NBA title in 40 years back in 2015, he was named MVP of the league for the 2014-15 season.

Curry then led the Warriors to a record-breaking 73-9 regular-season and took home his second consecutive NBA MVP award. His 2015-16 MVP win was the first unanimous choice in NBA history.

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In the 2014-15 season, Curry averaged 23.8 points, 7.7 assists and 4.3 rebounds in just 32.7 minutes per game (the second-lowest MPG average in an MVP season).

The following season, Curry won the scoring title with 30.1 points per game and averaged 6.7 assists and 5.4 rebounds per game. He also joined the 50/40/90 club with a shooting split of 50/45/91 and led the league in steals per game.


LeBron James - Two streaks of back-to-back NBA MVP awards

LeBron James playing for the Miami Heat in 2013.
LeBron James playing for the Miami Heat in 2013.

'The King' LeBron James has won four NBA MVPs in his illustrious career. James is one the greatest player in NBA history and has achieved many incredible feats in his 18-year journey in the league.

James won the MVP award four times in a span of five years (the second player ever to do it, after Bill Russell).

James won his first two MVPs with the Cleveland Cavaliers after the 2008-09 and 2009-10 seasons. He then won consecutive MVPs in 2012 and 2013 with the Miami Heat and became the second player to win back-to-back MVP awards with two different teams after Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, who did it with the Milwaukee Bucks and the Los Angeles Lakers.


Steve Nash - 2004-05 and 2005-06 NBA MVP

Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame Class of 2018 enshrine, Steve Nash.
Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame Class of 2018 enshrine, Steve Nash.

Current Brooklyn Nets head coach Steve Nash won two consecutive NBA MVP awards in 2005 and 2006 with the Phoenix Suns.

Though some might think Nash did not earn his two MVP trophies, he earned it in the eyes of the voters and was a dynamic guard in a great offense.

Nash averaged 15.5 points and 11.5 assists in his first MVP-winning season and followed it up with 18.8 points, 10.5 assists per game and shooting splits of 51/44/92 to win his second straight MVP.

Tim Duncan - 2001-02 and 2002-03 NBA MVP

Tim Duncan #21 of the San Antonio Spurs speaks to the media on an off day following Game Four of the 2014 NBA Finals.
Tim Duncan #21 of the San Antonio Spurs speaks to the media on an off day following Game Four of the 2014 NBA Finals.

The greatest power forward in NBA history, Tim Duncan, was all about championships and performing in the NBA Playoffs. However, Duncan is also one of the 12 players who won back-to-back MVP awards in his career.

Duncan won the award in the 2001-02 and 2002-03 seasons and even led the San Antonio Spurs to the 2003 NBA Championship and earned Finals MVP recognition.

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In the 2001-02 season, he averaged 25.5 points, 12.7 rebounds, and 3.7 assists per game. The following year, Duncan averaged 23 points, 13 rebounds and four assists per game.


Michael Jordan - 1990-91 and 1991-92 NBA MVP

Jordan won five NBA MVPs.
Jordan won five NBA MVPs.

The undisputed GOAT to many, Michael Jordan won five NBA MVP awards during his glorious career. Arguably, he should've won more, but five is still tied for second-most alongside Bill Russell.

In the 1990-91 and 1991-92 NBA seasons, Jordan won his second and third MVP awards, respectively. At the time, he was the seventh player to win consecutive NBA MVP awards in league history.

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Jordan averaged 31.5 points, six rebounds and five assists in the 1990-91 campaign. The following season, Jodan averaged 30 points, six rebounds and six assists for the 1991-92 regular season.


Magic Johnson - 1988-89 and 1989-90 NBA MVP

Magic Johnson.
Magic Johnson.

Magic Johnson, the greatest point guard in the history of the league, won three NBA MVP awards in his career.

Johnson won three MVP awards in a span of four years and took consecutive MVPs after the 1988-89 and 1989-90 seasons. The five-time champion averaged 23 points, eight rebounds and 12.8 assists per game in the 1988-89 season and 22 points, six rebounds and 11.5 assists per game in the 1989-90 campaign.


Moses Malone - 1981-82 and 1982-83 NBA MVP

Photo Credit: Focus On Sport.
Photo Credit: Focus On Sport.

Moses Malone was a legendary big man who should be mentioned more often in some debates about the NBA's all-time great players. Malone has won three NBA MVPs in his career and is also the only player in history to win the award with two franchises in consecutive years.

Malone won the NBA MVP in the 1981-82 season, his second, with the Houston Rockets, a team that he had carried to the 1981 NBA Finals. Then, he joined the Philadelphia 76ers, won the 1982-83 NBA MVP, and led the team to an NBA title.

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar - Two streaks of back-to-back NBA MVP awards

Kareem was unstoppable.
Kareem was unstoppable.

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is the record-holder for the most NBA MVP awards in the history of the NBA with six. He won three MVP awards each with the Milwaukee Bucks and the Los Angeles Lakers.

With Milwaukee and LA, Abdul-Jabbar had a couple of streaks of back-to-back seasons of winning the NBA MVP award. He won his first MVP in the 1970-71 season as a sophomore after averaging 31.7 points and 16 rebounds per game, where he also guided Milwaukee to the NBA title.

He followed up his glorious campaign with another MVP in the 1971-72 season averaging 34.8 points, 16.6 rebounds and 4.6 assists per game.

In the 1975-76 season, Kareem won the NBA MVP with the LA Lakers despite the team not making it to the postseason becoming the only player ever to achieve this feat. He averaged 27.7 points, 16.9 rebounds and five assists per game that season.

The following season, Abdul-Jabbar won the MVP again after putting up 26 points, 13 rebounds, and four assists per game.


Larry Bird - Three consecutive NBA MVP awards from 1984 to 1986

Larry Legend.
Larry Legend.

Larry Bird is the last player to win three consecutive NBA MVP trophies to date and he was the third to do so in NBA history when he accomplished the feat between the 1983-84 and 1985-86 campaigns.

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Bird won his three-straight MVP awards and was the second player for the Boston Celtics to do so after Bill Russell. During those three seasons, Bird averaged 26 points, 10 rebounds, and seven assists with a shooting split of 50/39/89.


Wilt Chamberlain - Three consecutive NBA MVP awards from 1966 to 1968

Wilt.
Wilt.

Wilt Chamberlain was the second player in NBA history to win three consecutive NBA MVP awards. Overall, Wilt has won four MVP trophies in his illustrious, record-breaking career.

Chamberlain was also the first rookie to win the MVP award, back in the 1959-60 season with the Philadelphia Warriors. With the Philadelphia 76ers, a whole different franchise, Wilt won three consecutive MVPs from the 1965-66 season until the 1967-68 campaign.

In those three years combined, Chamberlain averaged 27 points, 24 rebounds, and seven assists per game.


Bill Russell - Three consecutive NBA MVP awards from 1961 to 1963

Bill Russell (L) greets Jimmy Butler at the NBA All-Star Game 2018 at Staples Center on February 18, 2018 in Los Angeles, California.
Bill Russell (L) greets Jimmy Butler at the NBA All-Star Game 2018 at Staples Center on February 18, 2018 in Los Angeles, California.

The first player to win five NBA MVP awards in the history of the league, Bill Russell, was also the first to win three consecutive MVPs awarrds. The 11-time champion was a great team player and it earned him MVP recognition throughout the prime of his NBA journey.

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Russell won his first NBA MVP as a sophomore in the 1957-58 season. Russell won four MVPs in five seasons between 1961 and 1965. From 1961 to 1963, he won three consecutive MVP awards and averaged a combined 17.5 points, 23.7 rebounds, and four assists per game.


Also read: Five NBA players who won the MVP award quickest in their career

Edited by Jay Lokegaonkar

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