Why LeBron James must win the NBA title this year!

Basketball player LeBron James during the game...

LeBron James (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Sports Stats ‘on Tapp’ is a sports statistics blog published multiple times weekly focusing on stats that go beyond the numbers.

LeBron James was voted the NBA MVP for the 2011-12 season. He joins Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Bill Russell, Michael Jordan, Wilt Chamberlain, Moses Malone, Larry Bird and Magic Johnson as the players who have won the MVP award three or more times.

Take a look at the list above. What do you notice? All of those three-time plus MVPs have each won an NBA title except for James. If his Miami Heat do not win the NBA title this year, James would be the only three-time MVP without an NBA title.

Twelve different players won an MVP award in the same year their team won the NBA title. Both Michael Jordan and Bill Russell did it four times. The last player to win an MVP award and his team won the championship that year was in 2003 when the San Antonio Spurs won the title after Tim Duncan was voted league MVP.

Here are the 12 players who won the league MVP award in the same year their team won the NBA championship.

Player, Team, MVP/Championship Year

Bob Cousy, Boston, 1957

Bill Russell, Boston, 1961, 1962, 1963, 1965

Wilt Chamberlain, Philadelphia, 1967

Willis Reed, N.Y. Knicks, 1970

Lew Alcindor, Milwaukee, 1971; Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, L.A. Lakers, 1980

Moses Malone, Philadelphia, 1983

Larry Bird, Boston, 1984, 1986

Magic Johnson. L.A. Lakers, 1987

Michael Jordan, Chicago, 1991, 1992, 1996, 1998

Hakeem Olajuwon, Houston, 1994

Shaquille O’Neal, L.A. Lakers, 2000

Tim Duncan, San Antonio, 2003

Eight times the league MVP’s team made it to the NBA Finals but was defeated. The eight times when a league MVP’s team lost in the championship series: Bill Russell, Boston, 1958; Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Milwaukee, 1974; Larry Bird, Boston, 1985; Magic Johnson, L.A. Lakers, 1989; Charles Barkley, Phoenix, 1993; Karl Malone, Utah, 1997; Allen Iverson, Philadelphia, 2001; Kobe Bryant, L.A. Lakers, 2008.

Did you know? Twenty-eight of the 56 NBA MVPs played in the NBA Finals in the year they won their MVP award. Forty-four of the 56 MVPs saw their team advance to the final four in the playoffs in the year they won the MVP.

Did you know? Fifty-five of the 56 NBA MVPs played in the playoffs in the year they won their MVP award. Abdul-Jabbar was league MVP in 1976 but his Lakers did not make the playoffs that season.

Follow Jerry on Twitter @StatsonTapp


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