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The National Basketball Association Most Valuable Player (MVP) is an annual National Basketball Association (NBA) award given since the 1955–56 season to the best performing player of the regular season. The winner receives the Maurice Podoloff Trophy, which is named in honor of the first commissioner (then president) of the NBA, who served from 1946 until 1963. Until the 1979–80 season, the MVP was selected by a vote of NBA players. Since the 1980–81 season, the award is decided by a panel of sportswriters and broadcasters throughout the United States and Canada, each of whom casts a vote for first to fifth place selections. Each first-place vote is worth 10 points; each second-place vote is worth seven; each third-place vote is worth five, fourth-place is worth three and fifth-place is worth one. Starting from 2010, one ballot was cast by fans through online voting. The player with the highest point total wins the award. As of June 2021, the current holder of the award is Nikola Jokić of the Denver Nuggets.

Every player who has won this award and has been eligible for the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame has been inducted. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar won the award a record six times.[3] Both Bill Russell and Michael Jordan won the award five times, while Wilt Chamberlain and LeBron James won the award four times. Russell and James are the only players to have won the award four times in five seasons. Moses Malone, Larry Bird and Magic Johnson each won the award three times, while Bob Pettit, Karl Malone, Tim Duncan, Steve Nash and Stephen Curry have each won it twice. Only two rookies have won the award: Wilt Chamberlain in the 1959–60 season and Wes Unseld in the 1968–69 season. Hakeem Olajuwon of Nigeria, Tim Duncan of the U.S. Virgin Islands, Steve Nash of Canada, Dirk Nowitzki of Germany, Giannis Antetokounmpo of Greece, and Nikola Jokic of Serbia are the only MVP winners considered "international players" by the NBA.

Stephen Curry in 2015–16 is the only player to have won the award unanimously. Shaquille O'Neal in 1999–2000 and LeBron James in 2012–13 are the only two players to have fallen one vote shy of a unanimous selection, both receiving 120 of 121 votes. The 2017 winner, Russell Westbrook, was the first to have played for a team that failed to win at least 50 regular-season games since the 1982–83 season. Every player to have won the award has made at least one appearance as a player in the NBA Finals, with the exceptions of Steve Nash, Derrick Rose, Giannis Antetokounmpo, and Nikola Jokic.

Winners of the National Basketball Association Most Valuable Player (MVP) Award
Season Player Position Nationality Team
1955–56 Bob Pettit Power Forward Flag of the United States.png United States St. Louis Hawks
1956–57 Bob Cousy Point Guard Flag of the United States.png United States Boston Celtics
1957–58 Bill Russell Center Flag of the United States.png United States Boston Celtics (2)
1958–59 Bob Pettit (2) Power Forward Flag of the United States.png United States St. Louis Hawks (2)
1959–60 Wilt Chamberlain Center Flag of the United States.png United States Philadelphia Warriors
1960–61 Bill Russell (2) Center Flag of the United States.png United States Boston Celtics (3)
1961–62 Bill Russell (3) Center Flag of the United States.png United States Boston Celtics (4)
1962–63 Bill Russell (4) Center Flag of the United States.png United States Boston Celtics (5)
1963–64 Oscar Robertson Point Guard Flag of the United States.png United States Cincinnati Royals
1964–65 Bill Russell (5) Center Flag of the United States.png United States Boston Celtics (6)
1965–66 Wilt Chamberlain (2) Center Flag of the United States.png United States Philadelphia 76ers
1966–67 Wilt Chamberlain (3) Center Flag of the United States.png United States Philadelphia 76ers (2)
1967–68 Wilt Chamberlain (4) Center Flag of the United States.png United States Philadelphia 76ers (3)
1968–69 Wes Unseld Center Flag of the United States.png United States Baltimore Bullets
1969–70 Willis Reed Center Flag of the United States.png United States New York Knicks
1970–71 Lew Alcindor Center Flag of the United States.png United States Milwaukee Bucks
1971–72 Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (2) Center Flag of the United States.png United States Milwaukee Bucks (2)
1972–73 Dave Cowens Center Flag of the United States.png United States Boston Celtics (7)
1973–74 Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (3) Center Flag of the United States.png United States Milwaukee Bucks (3)
1974–75 Bob McAdoo Power Forward Flag of the United States.png United States Buffalo Braves
1975–76 Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (4) Center Flag of the United States.png United States Los Angeles Lakers
1976–77 Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (5) Center Flag of the United States.png United States Los Angeles Lakers (2)
1977–78 Bill Walton Center Flag of the United States.png United States Portland Trail Blazers
1978–79 Moses Malone Center Flag of the United States.png United States Houston Rockets
1979–80 Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (6) Center Flag of the United States.png United States Los Angeles Lakers (3)
1980–81 Julius Erving Small Forward Flag of the United States.png United States Philadelphia 76ers (4)
1981–82 Moses Malone (2) Center Flag of the United States.png United States Houston Rockets (2)
1982–83 Moses Malone (3) Center Flag of the United States.png United States Philadelphia 76ers (5)
1983–84 Larry Bird Small Forward Flag of the United States.png United States Boston Celtics (8)
1984–85 Larry Bird (2) Small Forward Flag of the United States.png United States Boston Celtics (9)
1985–86 Larry Bird (3) Small Forward Flag of the United States.png United States Boston Celtics (10)
1986–87 Magic Johnson Point Guard Flag of the United States.png United States Los Angeles Lakers (4)
1987–88 Michael Jordan Shooting Guard Flag of the United States.png United States Chicago Bulls
1988–89 Magic Johnson (2) Point Guard Flag of the United States.png United States Los Angeles Lakers (5)
1989–90 Magic Johnson (3) Point Guard Flag of the United States.png United States Los Angeles Lakers (6)
1990–91 Michael Jordan (2) Shooting Guard Flag of the United States.png United States Chicago Bulls (2)
1991–92 Michael Jordan (3) Shooting Guard Flag of the United States.png United States Chicago Bulls (3)
1992–93 Charles Barkley Power Forward Flag of the United States.png United States Phoenix Suns
1993–94 Hakeem Olajuwon Center Nigeria Flag.png Nigeria Houston Rockets (3)
1994–95 David Robinson Center Flag of the United States.png United States San Antonio Spurs
1995–96 Michael Jordan (4) Shooting Guard Flag of the United States.png United States Chicago Bulls (4)
1996–97 Karl Malone Power Forward Flag of the United States.png United States Utah Jazz
1997–98 Michael Jordan (5) Shooting Guard Flag of the United States.png United States Chicago Bulls (5)
1998–99 Karl Malone (2) Power Forward Flag of the United States.png United States Utah Jazz (2)
1999–00 Shaquille O'Neal Center Flag of the United States.png United States Los Angeles Lakers (7)
2000–01 Allen Iverson Shooting Guard Flag of the United States.png United States Philadelphia 76ers (6)
2001–02 Tim Duncan Power Forward Flag of the United States.png United States San Antonio Spurs (2)
2002–03 Tim Duncan (2) Power Forward Flag of the United States.png United States San Antonio Spurs (3)
2003–04 Kevin Garnett Power Forward Flag of the United States.png United States Minnesota Timberwolves
2004–05 Steve Nash Point Guard Flag of Canada.png Canada Phoenix Suns (2)
2005–06 Steve Nash (2) Point Guard Flag of Canada.png Canada Phoenix Suns (3)
2006–07 Dirk Nowitzki Power Forward Germany Flag.png Germany Dallas Mavericks
2007–08 Kobe Bryant Shooting Guard Flag of the United States.png United States Los Angeles Lakers (8)
2008–09 LeBron James Small Forward Flag of the United States.png United States Cleveland Cavaliers
2009–10 LeBron James (2) Small Forward Flag of the United States.png United States Cleveland Cavaliers (2)
2010–11 Derrick Rose Point Guard Flag of the United States.png United States Chicago Bulls (6)
2011–12 LeBron James (3) Small Forward Flag of the United States.png United States Miami Heat
2012–13 LeBron James (4) Small Forward Flag of the United States.png United States Miami Heat (2)
2013–14 Kevin Durant Small Forward Flag of the United States.png United States Oklahoma City Thunder
2014–15 Stephen Curry Point Guard Flag of the United States.png United States Golden State Warriors (2)
2015–16 Stephen Curry (2) Point Guard Flag of the United States.png United States Golden State Warriors (3)
2016–17 Russell Westbrook Point Guard Flag of the United States.png United States Oklahoma City Thunder (2)
2017–18 James Harden Shooting Guard Flag of the United States.png United States Houston Rockets (4)
2018–19 Giannis Antetokounmpo Power Forward Greece Flag.png Greece Milwaukee Bucks (4)
2019–20 Giannis Antetokounmpo (2) Power Forward Greece Flag.png Greece Milwaukee Bucks (5)
2020–21 Nikola Jokić Center Flag of Serbia.png Serbia Denver Nuggets
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