NBA

Kawhi Leonard joins elite company in winning Finals MVP

Make some room, LeBron James and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. Kawhi Leonard has just moved into your Finals neighborhood.

Leonard delivered the Toronto Raptors to their first championship on Thursday, posting 22 points, six rebounds and three assists to power a 114-110 win over the Golden State Warriors in Game 6 of The Finals.

Leonard was dominant in the series, averaging 28.5 points, 9.8 rebounds, 4.2 assists, 2.0 blocks and 1.2 steals.

Those efforts helped Leonard secure the Bill Russell Finals MVP Award for the second time in his career. His first came as a member of the San Antonio Spurs’ championship squad in 2014. In winning a second with the Raptors, he joins Abdul-Jabbar and James as the only players to earn Finals MVPs with two different franchises.

Here’s a look at how each of them stacked up in their Finals MVP runs:

Players to win Finals MVP with multiple franchises
Player Team Finals Series Stats MVP
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar  Bucks 27 ppg | 18.5 rpg | 2.8 apg 1971 (Bucks defeat Bullets, 4-0)
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Lakers 25.7 ppg | 9.0 rpg | 5.2 apg | 1.0 spg | 1.5 bpg 1985 (Lakers defeat Celtics, 4-2)
LeBron James Heat 28.6 ppg | 10.2 rpg | 7.4 apg | 1.6 spg | 0.4 bpg 2012 (Heat defeat Thunder, 4-1)
LeBron James Heat 25.3 ppg | 10.9 rpg | 7.0 apg | 2.3 spg | 0.9 bpg 2013 (Heat defeat Spurs, 4-3)
LeBron James Cavs 29.7 ppg | 11.3 rpg | 8.9 apg | 2.6 spg | 2.3 bpg 2016 (Cavs defeat Warriors, 4-3)
Kawhi Leonard Spurs 17.8 ppg | 6.4 rpg | 2.0 apg | 1.6 spg | 1.2 bpg 2014 (Spurs defeat Heat, 4-1)
Kawhi Leonard Raptors 28.5 ppg | 9.8 rpg | 4.2 apg | 2.0 spg | 1.2 bpg 2019 (Raptors defeat Warriors, 4-2)

(Note: Blocks per game not an official NBA stat until 1973-74 season.)

Aside from that honor, Leonard also becomes the 12th player in NBA history to win two or more Finals MVP awards overall in their career. Of the 11 previous players on that list, seven of them are in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. 

The previous multiple Finals MVP winners in NBA history are Willis Reed (1970, ’73); Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (’71, ’85); Magic Johnson (’80, ’82, ’87); Larry Bird (’84, ’86); Michael Jordan (’91-93, ’96-98); Hakeem Olajuwon (’94, ’95); Tim Duncan (’98, 2003, ’05); Shaquille O’Neal (’00-02); Kobe Bryant (’09, ’10); LeBron James (’12, ’13, ’16) and Kevin Durant (’17, ’18). 



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