Which player has the most NBA MVP awards?

Nikola Jokic moved up the list by winning the 2023-24 honor.

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The Joker got a trilogy.

Nikola Jokic was named the 2023-24 NBA Most Valuable Player on Wednesday, earning the honor for the third time in four seasons. The Denver Nuggets center beat out fellow finalists Shai Gilgeous-Alexander of the Oklahoma City Thunder and Luka Doncic of the Dallas Mavericks for the award.

One MVP is enough to solidify someone’s legacy, a second puts a player in rarified air and a third places a player in even more exclusive company. All 14 players with multiple MVPs before Jokic were named to the NBA 75th Anniversary Team. In addition, they are all either in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame or headed there once their playing days are finished.

Here's a look at the players with the most NBA MVPs now that Jokic has collected his third:

1. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar – 6

1971, 1972, 1974, 1976, 1977, 1980

Abdul-Jabbar won three of his MVPs with the Milwaukee Bucks and three more with the Los Angeles Lakers. Along with being the all-time leader in MVP awards, the legendary center remained the league’s all-time leading scorer up until 2023.

T-2. Bill Russell – 5

1958, 1961, 1962, 1963, 1965

Russell was the first NBA player to win three straight MVPs. Making those seasons better? His Boston Celtics won the NBA Finals in each of those years, helping him accumulate an insurmountable 11 championships as a player.

T-2. Michael Jordan – 5

1988, 1991, 1992, 1996, 1998

It should come as no surprise that Jordan dominated MVP voting in the 1990s considering his Chicago Bulls did the same throughout the decade. His first MVP came a few years prior, when he averaged 35.0 points, 5.9 assists, 5.5 rebounds and 3.2 steals per game in 1987-88, just his fourth NBA season.

T-4. Wilt Chamberlain – 4

1960, 1966, 1967, 1968

Chamberlain was the second player to three-peat as MVP. If not for Russell, Chamberlain could be even higher on this list. The Philadelphia and San Francisco Warriors center didn’t win MVP in seasons where he averaged 50.4 and 44.8 points per game, as the league handed the award to his Celtics counterpart.

T-4. LeBron James – 4

2009, 2010, 2012, 2013

James’ longtime status as the best player in basketball netted him four MVPs over a five-year stretch. Despite leading the Cleveland Cavaliers and Lakers to championships since his last MVP, he has not taken home the award since his days with the Miami Heat.

T-6. Moses Malone – 3

1979, 1982, 1983

Moses Malone started a stretch in which three marquee players took home nine of 12 MVPs. He won his first two awards with the Houston Rockets before winning his third in his first season with the Philadelphia 76ers, who won the 1983 NBA Finals.

T-6. Larry Bird – 3

1984, 1985, 1986

Bird took the torch from Moses Malone starting in 1984. The Celtics forward became the most recent player to collect three straight MVPs, doing so from 1984 to 1986 as Boston won two championships.

T-6. Magic Johnson – 3

1987, 1989, 1990

In 1987, Bird’s rival took the torch. Johnson won three MVPs from 1987 to 1990 but was unable to win all three in consecutive seasons. Instead, Johnson’s Lakers repeated as champions in 1987 and 1988.

T-6. Nikola Jokic – 3

2021, 2022, 2024

Jokic became the ninth player to be named MVP three times. After winning the season-long award in 2020-21 and 2021-22, Jokic won a different MVP award in 2023: NBA Finals MVP. He got back on the board for NBA MVP in 2023-24.

T-10. Bob Pettit – 2

1956, 1959

Pettit made history as the first MVP in NBA history, taking home the honor in 1956. After a pair of Celtics earned the award in 1957 and 1958, the St. Louis Hawks big man became the first two-time MVP in 1959.

T-10. Karl Malone – 2

1997, 1999

Karl Malone alternated MVPs with Jordan from 1996 to 1999, though Jordan got the last laugh. The Bulls beat Malone’s Jazz in consecutive NBA Finals in 1997 and 1998, with Jordan citing Malone’s 1997 MVP as fuel for Chicago’s championship victory.

T-10. Tim Duncan – 2

2002, 2003

Duncan was the first of six players to win multiple MVPs in the 21st century, and they all did it in consecutive seasons. The power forward capped off his second MVP season by leading the San Antonio Spurs to a 2003 Finals triumph over the New Jersey Nets.

T-10. Steve Nash – 2

2005, 2006

Speaking of the Nets, their former head coach has two MVPs in his trophy room. Despite owning the two lowest-scoring seasons for an MVP since Wes Unseld in 1969, Nash led the NBA in assists in 2005 and 2006 on his way to the award.

T-10. Steph Curry – 2

2015, 2016

Curry’s first MVP came in 2015, as he won his first NBA title with the Warriors. His second one was even more impressive, leading Golden State to an unprecedented 73-9 regular season record and becoming the first unanimous MVP in league history.

T-10. Giannis Antetokounmpo – 2

2019, 2020

Antetokounmpo was a two-time MVP at age 25, earning the award in 2019 and 2020. The Greek Freak put together his greatest accomplishment in 2021, though, leading the Bucks to their first title since 1971, which also happened to be Abdul-Jabbar’s first MVP season.

Editor’s note: An earlier version of this article was published in May 2022.

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