The Most Valuable Player (MVP) award is one of the most coveted personal awards in the sports calendar and is awarded to the best basketball player after a gruelling 82 games in an NBA season.

With the NBA season coming to an end in the coming weeks, the Golden State Warriors, who are led by guard Stephen Curry, eliminated the Houston Rockets who were led by guard James Harden who was highly tipped to be this season’s MVP if you check out the odds on Betway. We cast our minds back to 5 of the best MVP’s in NBA history since the inaugural award was given way back 1956.

Magic Johnson

The LA Lakers player Magic Johnson ended the 1986-87 season with 80 games played, and picked the first of his three MVP awards that year, leading his team to a memorable championship over archrivals Boston Celtics. That season, he averaged 23.9 points per game as well as 12.2 assists. Magic Johnson, who recently stepped down as President of the LA Lakers said: “I was happier when I wasn’t the president (of the Lakers)”

Larry Bird

One of basketball’s favourite player of all time, Larry Bird, who played for Boston Celtics, received his third MVP on the bounce by 1986. In that year he played 82 games and he averaged 25.8 points per game as well as 38 minutes per game. Larry Bird once said: “Push yourself again and again. Don’t give an inch until the final buzzer sounds”.

LeBron James

Still going at the age of 34 and currently playing for LA Lakers, LeBron’s final season at Cleveland Cavaliers in 2010 was a great one as he won his second MVP in a row, largely due to his extraordinary points and assists throughout the NBA season. This was a season when he played 76 games and averaged 29.7 points per game as well as 8.6 assists per game. LeBron James reportedly said: “Once you get on the playing field it’s not about whether you’re liked or not liked. All that matters is to play at a high level and do whatever it takes to help your team win. That’s what it’s about.”

Michael Jordan

Chicago Bulls’ Michael Jordan is by far the most recognized name in the NBA and is often compared to when other players perform well during the NBA season. In 1991, he played 82 games for the Bulls and averaged 31.5 points per game as well as 6.0 rebounds per game. The legendary player once said: “I’ve never lost a game; I’ve just ran out of time”.

Stephen Curry

In recent years, the Golden State Warriors player, Stephen Curry, is seen as the current best basketball player in the world. Back in the 2014–15 season, he won his first MVP award, after leading the Warriors to their first championship in 40 years.  He surpassed that record in 2015 with 286, and again in 2016 with 402. Curry is currently third in all-time made three-pointers in NBA history. Stephen Curry once said: “I’ve never been afraid of big moments. I get butterflies. I get nervous and anxious, but I think those are all good signs that I’m ready for the moment.”