All-time great players have some of the best resumes we have ever seen, and we seem to get a special talent every few years. Every era has created some amazing players that dominate the game, and this is even the case today. Individual accolades and team accolades often dictate a player’s success in the league and it gives the fans and media members unlimited talking points when comparing careers.
Winning the MVP award is the single most important regular-season accolade for an individual player, although it pales in comparison to winning a championship at the end of the year. While winning a title has to be the most important thing in a player’s season, capturing a championship is arguably a harder achievement. But it is extremely impressive for a player to win both the MVP and the NBA championship multiple times, specifically winning at least 4 championships and at least 2 MVP awards.
It has only been down a few times, as only a handful of players have managed to have this accomplishment throughout NBA history. In fact, only 7 players in NBA history have managed to capture a minimum of 2 MVPs and 4 NBA championships in their careers, an unbelievable fact considering that less than 10 stars ever had resumes like that. Without further ado, here are the only players in NBA history that captured the MVP award twice and the NBA title four times in their careers.
Stephen Curry – 4 Championships, 2 MVP Awards
Championship Seasons: 2014-15, 2016-17, 2017-18, 2021-22
MVP Seasons: 2014-15, 2015-16
The most recent member of the all-time list of players with at least 4 NBA championships and 2 MVP awards, Stephen Curry joins the elite company following the 2022 NBA Finals. The greatest shooter of all time, Steph took control of his own destiny by shooting his way to the top of the league, thanks to his elite offensive skills and unselfishness. With his 4th championship and 1st Finals MVP to his name, Steph deserves the praise he will be getting over the next few months. There is no doubt that Curry is Mr. Golden State as well because no player had the impact the point guard has had.
Curry might have won 2 of his championships with the once-in-the-lifetime decision by Kevin Durant to join a title contender, but he won another 2 without the all-time great swingman. The point guard is the best shooter ever but did not mind taking a backseat when necessary, as seen in the 2015 Finals when he did not win the Finals MVP award and also the 2017 and 2018 seasons when KD was on the roster. With a unanimous MVP trophy to his name and a reputation for changing the game, Steph is a valued member of this elite list.
Tim Duncan – 5 Championships, 2 MVP Awards
Championship Seasons: 1998-99, 2002-03, 2004-05, 2006-07, 2013-14
MVP Seasons: 2001-02, 2002-03
The greatest power forward ever, Tim Duncan, won 5 championships and 2 MVP awards as a member of the San Antonio Spurs. The Big Fundamental impacted the paint better than any power forward ever because he made 15 All-Defensive Teams and also finished his career with an average of 19.0 PPG. Duncan’s resume is stacked with individual and team accolades because he was the cornerstone of the Spurs dynasty, which lasted almost two decades. As the cornerstone of San Antonio sports, Duncan got the job done consistently over his career.
It is amazing how beyond Duncan is from other all-time great power forwards, including Karl Malone, Charles Barkley, and Giannis Antetokounmpo among others, and he is unsurprisingly a member of the list of players with at least 4 championships and 2 MVP awards. Timmy retired only 6 years ago, and making his 15th All-Star Team at age 38 was an impressive way to finalize a career that will go down in the history books. Only three other players on this list have more championships than the legendary Spurs big man.
LeBron James – 4 Championships, 4 MVP Awards
Championship Seasons: 2011-12, 2012-13, 2015-16, 2019-20
MVP Seasons: 2008-09, 2009-10, 2011-12, 2012-13
LeBron James is one of the greatest players in NBA history and he has also played on some all-time great teams. James is arguably the player with the highest basketball IQ in NBA history and he impacts the game on every level. A 4-time NBA champion and 4-time Finals MVP, James has been a part of some all-time great teams and has had some Hall of Fame teammates. No player took a career into his own hands more than James did for himself, because he began the trend of recruiting star players and also controlling what franchises do. In many ways, LeBron James has changed the landscape of sports.
But on the court, The King was a special player. He won 4 titles, 4 Finals MVPs, and 4 MVP awards over his career. His championships came with three different franchises (Cleveland Cavaliers, Miami Heat, Los Angeles Lakers) while his MVP awards came with the Cavaliers and Heat. LeBron is widely regarded as a top-5 player of all time because of his incredible longevity and ability to control a game with his passing, which is why he had such tremendous individual and team success. Time will tell if James can ever win a 5th championship because he can start climbing every all-time ranking if that does occur.
Magic Johnson – 5 Championships, 3 MVP Awards
Championship Seasons: 1979-80, 1981-82, 1984-85, 1986-87, 1987-88
MVP Seasons: 1986-87, 1988-89, 1989-90
Magic is the best point guard ever, and it isn’t very close. He was an oversized guard with perfect guard skills, including dribbling and passing. He was unstoppable on the break and was one of the very best players in the league during each of his 5 NBA championship rings. To many fans of the Lakers, Magic is the best to ever wear Purple and Gold as well, an incredible compliment considering the likes of Kobe Bryant, Jerry West, and Shaquille O’Neal all played for the franchise. We have yet to see a more magical point guard than the great Earvin Johnson because his floor leadership and playmaking were second-to-none.
It will be hard for any point guard to ever top the great Magic Johnson. He has 3 MVPs, 3 Finals MVPs, and 12 All-Star selections. Magic effectively changed the game and we haven’t seen a point guard better and probably never will. He is just a different breed, and as a large player who competed at the point guard spot, he only trails three other players in total championships on this list. The king of the 1980s, Magic won an incredible 5 titles and 3 MVP awards.
Michael Jordan – 6 Championships, 5 MVP Awards
Championship Seasons: 1990-91, 1991-92, 1992-93, 1995-96, 1996-97, 1997-98
MVP Seasons: 1987-88, 1990-91, 1991-92, 1995-96, 1997-98
Considered the greatest basketball player and arguably the most spectacular athlete in sports, Michael Jordan captured 6 NBA titles in 6 Finals appearances with the Chicago Bulls. Air Jordan averaged 33.6 PPG, 6.0 RPG, and 6.0 APG in 35 games over his Finals career. Alongside Scottie Pippen, Jordan formed arguably the best duo in NBA history as they never played in a Game 7 together on the biggest stage of them all.
Whether it was making clutch jumpers or creating clutch plays for others, Jordan always finished his opponents in the Finals. Michael Jordan achieved a lot in his NBA career, from 10 scoring titles to 5 MVP Awards, but his 6-0 record in the Finals with 6 Finals MVPs are his greatest achievements. MJ probably should have won more than 5 MVPs, because he was the best player in the game by his rookie season. Still, his achievements are truly extraordinary as he trails Kareem in total MVP awards.
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar – 6 Championships, 6 MVP Awards
Championship Seasons: 1970-71, 1979-80, 1981-82, 1984-85, 1986-87, 1987-88
MVP Seasons: 1970-71, 1971-72, 1973-74, 1975-76, 1976-77, 1979-80
Quite possibly the most accomplished and talented two-way center to have ever played the game, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar captured 6 NBA titles in 10 Finals appearances. The legendary Bucks and Lakers champion played in 56 Finals games, averaging 23.5 PPG, 9.1 RPG, and 3.2 APG in his Finals career. Thanks to his skyhook shot and defensive ability, Kareem proved to be a dominant player in the postseason.
His 6 NBA championships fit nicely next to his 6 MVP awards and 2 Finals MVPs as the former No. 1 overall pick finds himself in all-time great status. Other than Bill Russell’s 11 rings and Wilt Chamberlain’s scary statistics (100-point game, 50.4 PPG in a single season), no center compares to Abdul-Jabbar in total accolades on an individual and team level. Especially when looking back to his college days, Kareem is one-of-a-kind, and he headlines the list of players with at least 4 championships and 2 MVP awards.
Bill Russell – 11 Championships, 5 MVP Awards
Championship Seasons: 1956-57, 1958-59, 1959-60, 1960-61, 1961-62, 1962-63, 1963-64, 1964-65, 1965-66, 1967-68, 1968-69
MVP Seasons: 1957-58, 1960-61, 1961-62, 1962-63, 1964-65
The greatest winner in NBA history, Bill Russell captured an unbelievable 11 championships over his Hall of Fame career. The center was not considered a superstar offensive player, but his leadership and defensive impact make him one of the most dominant winners to have ever played. In 12 NBA Finals appearances, Russell went 11-1. The Boston Celtics are tied with the Lakers for the most titles in NBA history, and the big man’s championships have a large part to do with that because he has 11 rings out of a total of 17.
Armed with elite leaping ability and natural shot-blocking skills, Bill Russell always found a way to lead the Celtics past his opponents in an era with so few teams. That is never held against Russell because coming out on top in a competitive league as many times as he did is extraordinary. With 5 MVP awards to his name, Russell is easily a top-10 player ever and his resume will stand the test of time with regard to both individual and team accolades.