Remember when Kobe, LeBron and MJ got robbed? The Top 6 most infuriating NBA MVP winners of all time
One of the most anticipated and presumably most controversial NBA MVP races of all time — the heated four-way race between Steph Curry, Russell Westbook, James Harden and LeBron James — is upon us. There are legitimate cases to be made for why each of them should win. While we wait to see who ends up with the prize, let's take a trip down NBA memory lane when superheroes like Michael Jordan, LeBron James, and Kobe Bryant were also straight-up robbed of an MVP award by others arguably less deserving. Agree? Disagree? Share your personal feelings and emotions in the comments below. By Noah Weissman
Derrick Rose beats LeBron James, 2010-2011 NBA MVP
Derrick Rose: 21.8 PPG. 7.9 APG. 3.4 RPG. Chicago Bulls' record: 62-20. LeBron James: 26.7 PPG. 7 APG. 7.5 RPG. Miami Heat's record: 58-24. In 2011, a 22-year-old Derrick Rose, grown out of the Concrete, moved through the court like a puma in his prime, smooth and powerful, and helped his team make the playoffs with a phenomenal record. Cute, sure. Admirable, yes. But then remember you had LeBron James in his first year in Miami absolutely murdering statistically and winning games. This should have been a no-brainer.
Steve Nash over Shaquille O'Neal, 2004-2005
Steve Nash: 15.5 PPG, 11.5 APG. Phoenix Suns record: 62-20. Shaquille O'Neal: 22.9 PPG. 10.4 RPG. Miami Heat record: 59-23. Who doesn't love Steve Nash? He plays soccer, he skateboards, has beautiful wisps of lion-like hair, and is Canadian. But then look at his MVP numbers in his first season back with the Suns. Nash was part of an epic run-and-gun system that juiced his stats and made the playoffs, sure, but the Shaqtus was crushing fools in Miami and helping them put banners in the rafters. If that's not adding the most value, I don't know what is.
Steve Nash crushes Kobe Bryant, 2005-2006
Steve Nash: 18.8 PPG. 10.5 APG. Phoenix Suns: 54-28. Kobe Bryant: 35.4 PPG. 5 RPG. 4.5 APG. Los Angeles Lakers: 47-35. Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on the NBA. This may be the biggest tragedy of all time. We've already established Esteban Nash as super groovy, but this two-time back-to-back NBA MVP designation makes the whole award feel somewhat like a joke. This is a year when Kobe Bryant played with Smush Parker and Chris Mihm as fellow starters and they still made the playoffs. When Kobe dropped 81 points in a single game. If you would look me in the eye and say Steve Nash was more valuable to his team and the most valuable player in the league I would call you a cold-blooded liar. The NBA should go back and fix this like an NCAA investigation.
Karl Malone robs Michael Jordan, 1996-1997
Karl Malone: 27.4 PPG, 10 RPG. Utah Jazz: 64-18. Michael Jordan: 29.6 PPG, 5.3 RPG, 4.3 APG. Chicago Bulls: 69-13. Giving Karl 'the Mailman' Malone the MVP because he is one of the best power forwards of all time is nice, but that's not the point of the award. This was the year of Jordan. Jordan didn't seem to forget, as His Airness literally destroyed Malone and the Jazz in the NBA Finals the next year, with one of the most memorable shots in Playoff history. The greatest player to ever play the game having one of his best years on one of the best teams ever? That defines value.
Tim Duncan over Jason Kidd: 2001-2002
Tim Duncan: 25.5 PPG. 12.7 RPG. 2.5 RPG. San Antonio Spurs: 58-24. Jason Kidd: 14.7 PPG. 9.9 APG. 7.3 RPG. New Jersey Nets: 52-30. So Jason Kidd did get in trouble for beating his wife during the 2001-2002 season, which may have factored into the MVP award decision despite the fact that Kidd was one of the most dynamic players of all time and turned the Nets around from a losing team to a playoff contender. The Big Fundamental in Tim Duncan was a solid player that year, like he is every year, but Kidd had a special-sauce type of season. Had he maintained a cleaner image off the court he most likely would have walked away with the MVP prize.
Magic Johnson edges out Charles Barkley, 1989-1990
Magic Johnson: 22.3 PPG, 11.5 APG. Los Angeles Lakers: 63-19. Charles Barkley: 25.2 PPG, 11.5 RPG. Philadelphia 76ers: 53-29. Sir Charles is like Homer Simpson or Peter Griffin but on steroids (not literally!), and how can you not love a man like that who had a monster NBA year? Earvin 'Magic Big Smiles' Johnson was good in a season where the Lakers were falling off a bit, but his team was clearly better than Chuck's. But had you took Charles Barkley off of that season's 76ers team, they would not have won a single game. That is value at its most intrinsic level, and should have earned him the MVP award.