Who Is the Youngest NBA Player to Win MVP?
A league MVP has been named annually since the 1955-56 NBA season. There have been repeat winners, there have been rookies, and there have been league veterans … Many, many demographics have been named the NBA MVP at one time or another.
Here’s a look at the youngest NBA player to ever win the award and some other interesting MVP stats.
The youngest NBA player to win the MVP
A handful of young NBA players have won league MVP honors over the years. According to StatMuse, the five youngest to ever do so include Derrick Rose, Wes Unseld, Moses Malone, Bob McAdoo, and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.
The youngest player to ever win league MVP honors is Derrick Rose, at 22, during the 2010-11 season. The point guard played 81 regular season games and averaged 25.0 points, 4.1 rebounds, and 7.7 assists per game for the Chicago Bulls. Despite winning MVP honors, Rose and the Bulls failed to make it to the NBA Championship, losing to the Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference Playoffs.
The second youngest player to win league MVP honors was Wes Unseld during the 1968-69 season. Like Rose, Unseld was also 22 when he earned the NBA MVP Award. However, Unseld was closer to 23 than Rose was when he received the away. On the season, Unseld averaged 13.8 points, 18.2 rebounds, and 2.6 assists per game for the Baltimore Bullets.
Sitting in the third spot for the youngest NBA player to ever win league MVP honors is Moses Malone. The center was 23 years old during the 1978-79 season when he averaged 24.8 points, 17.6 rebounds, and 1.8 assists per game for the Houston Rockets and earned the honor.
The fourth youngest NBA player to win league MVP honors is another towering center, Bob McAdoo. During the 1974-75 season, McAdoo was 23 years old when he averaged 34.5 points, 14.1 rebounds, and 2.2 assists per game and became league MVP.
While there have been six total NBA players to win league MVP honors at 23 years old, the player who currently sits as the fifth youngest MVP winner in league history is Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. During the 1970-71 season, Abdul-Jabbar averaged 31.7 points, 16.0 rebounds, and 3.3 assists. Just missing the cut by a few days, the three other NBA stars who won league MVP honors when they were 23 years old include Wilt Chamberlain, Bill Russell, and Bob Pettit.
The oldest NBA player to win MVP
Just as there have been some young bucks to take MVP honors, there’s also been a handful of seasoned veterans. The three oldest players to win league MVP honors are Karl Malone, Michael Jordan, and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.
The oldest NBA hooper to have ever won league MVP is Karl Malone, at 35 years old. He won league MVP twice as a power forward for the Utah Jazz. The first win came during the 1996-97 season when he was 33 years old, and the second came during the 1998-99 season when he was 35.
The second oldest NBA star to win league MVP is the legendary Michael Jordan. Over the course of his career, MJ picked up five total league MVP wins. His first nod came in the 1987-88 season when he was 24. His final win came a decade later during the 1997-98 season when he was 34.
Interestingly, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar makes the list as both one of the youngest and oldest players to take MVP honors. The star hooper won six league MVP awards during his career, the most won by any player in league history. His last MVP nod was given during the 1979-80 season when he was 32.
The shortest NBA player to win MVP
While the vast majority of NBA stars who have won league MVP honors have all been towering forces inching close to 7 feet, there’s also been a few “short kings” who’ve picked up MVP honors over the years.
Throughout league history, only three players under 6-foot 4-inches have ever won league MVP, with the shortest being Allen Iverson at 6-foot even. Iverson took home the honor during the 2000-01 season at 25.
Two other vertically challenged NBA players who took home MVP honors include Bob Cousy and Steve Nash. At 6-foot-1, Cousy won while playing for the Boston Celtics during the 1956-57 season. Steve Nash, at 6-foot-3, won league MVP twice. His first victory came during the 2004-05 season when he was 30, and his second came during the 2005-06 season when he was 31.
The only MVP from a losing team in NBA history
A final interesting NBA MVP stat: Only one player from a losing team was ever named Finals MVP. Of course, this was none other than Jerry West.
The skillful guard won the award during the 1969 Championship. Despite the Boston Celtics winning the series 4-3 over the Los Angeles Lakers, West put on a dominant performance for the Lakers and was named Finals MVP.
Stats courtesy of Basketball Reference.