Considering the National Basketball Association features the greatest players all across the globe, standing out from the pack is no easy task at all, with stars surging at a pace we just can’t fathom and having incredibly absurd stat lines on a nightly basis on their way to stardom.
So, winning the Most Valuable Player award is one of the hardest accolades to achieve throughout an NBA career, as there are so many different factors that may take a toll in the votings, like the team’s record and true player impact beyond the stats.
Obviously, that’s made it quite unfair for some players that are having amazing seasons but don’t win the MVP because other players are having an even better one or other teams are faring better in the standings.
Today, we’re going to let you know about 10 players that were snubbed of the MVP award on one or more seasons, although most of the guys were about to list wind up winning it eventually anyway.
10. LeBron James in 2005-06 and 2010-11
LeBron James has won 4 MVPs throughout his successful NBA career, but it’s crazy to think that he could’ve had 6 already and nobody would even complain. See, back then during his early years, he had a monstrous season with averages of 31.4 points, 7 boards, 6.6 assists, and 1.8 steals per game, but the MVP winner was Steve Nash.
5 seasons later, he’d go on to average 26.7 points, 7.5 rebounds and 7 dimes per game on his first season as a member of the Heat despite sharing touches with Bosh and Wade, but the award went to an unstoppable Derrick Rose.
9. Kevin Durant in 2012-13
During the 2012-13 campaign, Kevin Durant joined the exclusive club of the 50-40-90, averaging 28.1 points, 7.9 rebounds, 4.6 assists, 1.4 steals and 1.3 blocks per game in 51% from the floor, 41% from three and 90% from the line, something quite impressive considering his height, position and volume.
The Oklahoma City Thunder would go on to win 60 games this season led by a 24-year-old Kevin Durant, but LeBron James would eventually be the award winner despite Durant having his highest true shooting percentage ever, although he’d come back stronger the next season to finally take home his lone MVP so far.
8. Chris Paul in 2007-08
Chris Paul just doesn’t get enough respect and recognition, and people tend to forget how much of a beast he was during his early days with the New Orleans Pelicans, being one of the biggest snubbed of the MVP award at the tender age of just 22 years old.
Paul was averaging 21.1 points, 11.6 assists, 4 rebounds and 2.7 steals per game in just his 3rd season in the NBA, turning the ball over just 2.5 times per contest and joining John Stockton as the only players to ever average over 11 dimes with less than three TOs through a full season. Still, Kobe Bryant wound up taking home the award and CP3’s still waiting to get his first.
7. Charles Barkley in 1989-90
Back in the day, Charles Barkley was one of the fiercest, strongest competitors the league had ever seen, and if it weren’t for Michael Jordan, perhaps he would’ve retired as an NBA Champion and gotten more than just one MVP award.
During the 89-90 campaign, Chuck was one of the league’s biggest stars, although his Philadelphia 76ers struggled to get anything going. Still, his averages of 25.2 points, 11.5 rebounds, 3.9 dimes and 1.9 steals in 60% from the floor were just ridiculous, but the award ended up in Magic Johnson’s hands for the 3rd time in his career.
6. Kobe Bryant in 2005-06
Kobe Bryant was one of Steve Nash’s victims as well, as he was having a monstrous season in the post Shaq era as the lone star in the Los Angeles Lakers, but couldn’t help but to be snubbed by the Canadian point guard amidst a lot of controversies.
Nash was a deserved winner, but the kind of numbers Kobe posted throughout the campaign make him a strong case for the award also, averaging a career-high 35.4 points with 5.3 rebounds and 4.5 dimes, but considering how poorly Los Angeles fared, he lost a lot of votes in favor of Nash.
5. Shaquille O’Neal in 2000-01 and 2004-05
Shaquille O’Neal won 1 MVP and was pretty close to winning back to back awards back then in the 2000-01 campaign when he was still a part of the Los Angeles Lakers, averaging 28.7 points, 13.6 rebounds, a career-high 3.8 assists and 3 blocks per game, but still lost the MVP award against a young Tim Duncan. Still, the Lakers would go on to win back to back NBA Championships, so Shaq wouldn’t mind.
Later on and during the first season of his Miami Heat stint, Shaq wasn’t showing many signs of slowing down, posting averages of 22.9 points, 10.4 rebounds and 2.3 swats per game, and most people argue that he was clearly robbed out of the award during Nash’s first MVP season.
4. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar in 1972-73
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar was the most talented player of his era and took home 6 MVP awards, but he could’ve (And should’ve won) even more, especially during his sick 1972-73 season ahead of one of the most vertiginous and fast-paced offenses in NBA history.
Abdul-Jabbar would go on to average 30.2 points, 16.1 rebounds and 5 assists per game at age 25 and coming off a Championship winning campaign, but the MVP award wound up in Dave Cowens hand anyways.
3. Michael Jordan in 988-89 and 1996-97
Obviously, the best player in the history of the game also has to make our list, as he was brutally robbed from the MVP award in the 1988-89 campaign when he averaged 32.5 points, 8 rebounds, 8 assists, 2.9 steals and 0.8 points in over 40 minutes per game and shooting 53% from the floor, with the award ending up in Magic Johnson’s hands.
Later on, he’d be robbed once again on the very same season he won his 5th NBA Championship, averaging 29.6 points, 5.9 rebounds, 4.3 dimes and 1.7 steals per game in almost 38 minutes. This year it’d be Karl Malone the one who won the award, but Jordan and his Bulls defeated him in the finals, so he’d take that any day. On a side note, he led the league in scoring in both of this seasons.
2. Oscar Robertson in 1961-62
The 1961-62 campaign was a wild one, and the MVP award could’ve gone to at least 3 different players, but it was Bill Russell who’d take it home in the end. Still, it’s pretty crazy to think that Oscar Robertson didn’t win it after becoming the first player in NBA history to average a triple-double, doing it with the Cincinnati Royals.
The Big O would average 30.8 points, 11.4 dimes and 12.5 rebounds per game despite playing the point guard and this would be just his 2nd season in the big leagues. At least, he’d win the prize a couple of campaigns later.
1. Wilt Chamberlain in 1961-62
During that very same Bill Russell MVP campaign, Wilt Chamberlain could’ve won the award and nobody would’ve been able to complain, as his sick averages of 50.4 points, 25.7 rebounds and 2.4 assists per game were just ridiculous, and it was just his 3rd season in the Association, even having that historic 100 point performance.
Sadly for him, Bill Russell would also take home the trophy that year after beating his Warriors in the Finals, but at least he’d go on to win 4 MVP awards later on as well as a couple of NBA Championships.