In one of the closest races in recent history, Nikola Jokic of the Denver Nuggets edged out Joel Embiid from the Philadelphia 76ers and Giannis ‘Greek Freak’ Antetokounmpo to win the 2022 NBA MVP. Jokic was the reigning MVP and won the prestigious award in back-to-back seasons joining an elite group of a dozen other players who pulled off the rare feat.
Jokic had the burden of carrying the Nuggets this season because Jamal Murray missed the entire season with a blown-out ACL and Michael Porter Jr went down with a back injury in the opening weeks of the season. Despite missing two max-contact players, the Nuggets still qualified for the postseason as the #6 seed.
Jokic set an NBA record as the first player in history with 2,000 points, 1,000 rebounds, and 500 assists in the same season.
Jokic set a career-best with averaging 27.1 points and 13.8 rebounds per game. He also averaged 7.9 assists, 1.5 steals, and 0.9 blocks per game this season. He boasted the best PER rating in the NBA at 32.94. Jokic was the NBA’s sixth best scorer at 27.1 ppg, but he was the second-best rebounder with 13.8 boards per game. He finished the season as the eight-best dish man in the league with 7.9 assists per game, but he was the best passing big man in the NBA once again.
Last season, Jokic won the MVP averaging 26.4 points, 10.8 rebounds, and 8.3 assists per game.
Joel Embiid led the NBA in scoring with 30.6 ppg, but he finished a close second to Jokic in MVP voting.
Joker: Back-to-Back MVPs
When an NBA superstar is dominant, they tend to be the best player over a period of several seasons. Jokic joined an exclusive list of players who won the MVP in back-to-back seasons. Larry Bird, Wilt Chamberlain, and Bill Russell are the only players in NBA history to win the MVP in three consecutive seasons.
Bird pulled it off with the Boston Celtics in 1983 through 1985. Chamberlain was recognized as the best player in NBA in three-straight seasons with the Philadelphia 76ers between 1965 and 1967. In the early 1960s, Bill Russell won the MVP three times with the Boston Celtics between 1960 and 1962.
|BACK-TO-BACK NBA MVP WINNERS|
- Bill Russell 1960, 1961, 1962
- Wilt Chamberlain 1965, 1966, 1967
- Kareem Abdul-Jabbar 1970, 1971
- Kareem Abdul-Jabbar 1975, 1976
- Moses Malone 1981, 1982
- Larry Bird 1983, 1984, 1985
- Magic Johnson 1988, 1989
- Michael Jordan 1990, 1991
- Tim Duncan 2001, 2002
- Steve Nash 2004, 2005
- LeBron James 2008, 2009
- LeBron James 2011, 2012
- Steph Curry 2014, 2015
- Giannis ‘Greek Freak’ Antetokounmpo 2019, 2020
- Nikola Jokic 2021, 2022
LeBron James and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar have two instances when they won the NBA MVP in back-to-back season. James pulled it off in 2008 and 2009 with the Cleveland Cavs, and then again in 2011 and 2012 with the Miami Heat. Abdul-Jabbar won the MVP in back-to-back seasons with the Milwaukee Bucks in 1970 and 1971, and then again with the LA Lakers in 1975 and 1976.
List of Multiple MVPs
Only 15 players won the NBA MVP more than once. Abdul-Jabbar leads everyone and holds the record with six MVP awards. The NBA’s all-tine leading scorer won the MVP three times with the Milwaukee Bucks in 1971, 1972, and 1974. He won three more times with the Lakers in 1976, 1977, and 1980.
Michael Jordan won the MVP five times and tied Bill Russell for second-most in NBA history.
- Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (6)
- Michael Jordan (5)
- Bill Russell (5)
- Wilt Chamberlin (4)
- LeBron James (4)
- Magic Johnson (3)
- Larry Bird (3)
- Moses Malone (3)
- Tim Duncan (2)
- Bon Petit (2)
- Steve Nash (2)
- Giannis ‘Greek Freak’ Antetokounmpo (2)
- Karl Malone (2)
- Steph Curry (2)
- Nikola Jokic (2)
Chamberlain and LeBron won the MVP four times, and both are among the five players in NBA history to win at least four times.
The three-timer club included Magic Johnson, Bird, and Moses Malone. Only eight players won the MVP three or more times.
With back-to-back MVPs, Jokic joins the two-timer MVP club that also includes the Greek Freak, Steph Curry, Steve Nash, Tim Duncan, Karl Malone, and Bob Petit.