NBA Finals: 5 Players with the most Finals MVP Awards
The Finals. It's the most exciting time for any NBA fan. This is where the top two teams bring their best out and battle for the NBA championship. And for those star players who lead their team to the title, there's the added motivation of the Bill Russell NBA Finals MVP award -- aptly named as Russell, has won a whopping 11 championships in his career.
In recent times, the likes of Kevin Durant, LeBron James, and Kawhi Leonard have received the award. But, there were many great champions that came before them. Here is a look at the top five players with the most NBA Finals MVP awards.
#5 LeBron James - 3 NBA Finals MVP Awards
LeBron James is considered one of the greatest basketball players of all time, if not the greatest. Being drafted straight out of high school in 2003, many knew he was destined for greatness. LeBron spent the first seven years of his career with the Cleveland Cavaliers, during which time he led them to the finals in the 06-07 season. They lost the title to the San Antonio Spurs though.
During this seven-year span, many questioned LeBron and his greatness, stating his career would not be validated until he won a championship. This would all change when he made the decision to join the Miami Heat. Alongside All Stars Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh, the Heat made four straight finals appearances, winning two -- the 2011-12 and 2012-13 seasons.
In the 11-12 season, the Heat faced off against a young Oklahoma City Thunder team and beat them 4-1. During this series, LeBron averaged a double-double with 28.6 points per game and 10.2 rebounds per game. He also added 7.4 assists and 1.4 steals to win his first NBA Finals MVP award.
In the 12-13 Finals, the Heat met the San Antonio Spurs. During this series, James' points dropped in comparison to the previous years, but he still added a lot of value with his rebounding, assists, and defense. James finished the series with 25.3 points, 10.9 rebounds, 7 assists and 2.3 steals per game. This all-around effort led the team to their second championship and his second NBA Finals MVP award.
After opting out of the last year of his contract with the Heat, James returned to Cleveland. Alongside Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love, James led the Cavs to their second straight finals appearance against the Golden State Warriors. The Cavs started the series slowly and the Warriors were expected to run away with the win after going up 3-1 in the series.
However, in a historic turn of events, the Cavs managed to claw their way back to into the series to tie it 3-3 and eventually win game 7. The team rallied around LeBron and Kyrie to bring Cleveland their first ever NBA championship.
In this series, LeBron was an absolute standout. He averaged 29.7 points, 11.3 rebounds and 8.9 assists per game. In addition to his offensive display, he had 2.6 steals and 2.3 blocks per game. This performance was good enough to bring LeBron his third NBA Finals MVP award and a much-awaited championship to Cleveland.