Join us as we dive into the unique stories of the five record-breaking and youngest NBA MVPs in history.
Within the world of basketball, there is something magical about being a Most Valuable Player (MVP). It’s an award that celebrates individual excellence and honor on the court—an acknowledgment of hard work and dedication over countless hours of practicing and competing.
In this article, we’re diving into a list of the five youngest NBA MVPs, comparing their amazing accomplishments and stats along the way.
5. Kareem Abdul Jabbar – 23 years old
In 1971, the NBA saw the emergence of Kareem Abdul Jabbar, who was only 23 years old at the time. He secured the first of his record six NBA MVP awards. That year, he dominated the league in scoring, averaging 31.7 points per game, while also managing to grab 16 rebounds per game on average.
Abdul Jabbar, then known as Ferdinand Lewis Alcindor Jr, led the Milwaukee Bucks to the NBA championship that year. The Bucks accomplished this feat by sweeping the Baltimore Bullets 4–0 in the 1971 NBA Finals. Following his impressive performance, the center was named the Finals MVP.
4. Bob McAdoo – 23 years old
Bob McAdoo won the NBA MVP award in 1975, at the age of 23. The center played a significant role in leading the Buffalo Braves to the playoffs that year, with impressive game averages of 34.5 points, 14.1 rebounds, and 2.12 blocks per game. Besides his scoring and defense, McAdoo was efficient in his shooting, with a field goal percentage of 51.2%. He also made 80.5% of his free throws.
Although the Braves made it to the playoffs with a 49-33 record, they could not advance beyond the first round. Despite the early exit, McAdoo’s performance that season remains an impressive feat in NBA history.
3. Moses Malone – 23 years old
In 1979, Moses Malone won the NBA MVP award at the young age of 23. The center had an incredible season, with averages of 24.8 points and a .540 shooting percentage. Moreover, he topped the league with an impressive 17.6 rebounds per game.
Despite that, the Houston Rockets still ended up going out early in the postseason. Even though the Rockets had qualified for the playoffs, they could not make it past the first round, losing in a clean sweep to the Atlanta Hawks.
2. Wes Unseld – 23 years old
Wes Unseld was a dominant force in his rookie season, winning the NBA MVP award at the young age of 23 in 1969. He led the Baltimore Bullets to a 57–25 record as well as their first division title that year. Unseld averaged an impressive 18.2 rebounds and 13.8 points per game, demonstrating his skill as a center.
Unseld also joined the ranks of fellow future Hall of Famer Wilt Chamberlain as the second player to win the Rookie of the Year Award and the Most Valuable Player Award in the same year. This is a testament to the sheer talent and skill that Unseld possessed, even at such a young age. His rookie season was the beginning of an incredible career that left an indelible mark on the game of basketball.
1. Derrick Rose (22 years old)
Derrick Rose tops the list of the youngest NBA MVPs of all time. He won the award in 2011, at the age of 22. This was a remarkable accomplishment that solidified his place in basketball history. His skill as a point guard was on full display that season. He averaged 25 points, 7.7 assists, 4.4 rebounds, and 0.6 blocks per game. These numbers are nothing short of impressive and showcased his incredible talent.
Moreover, Rose helped the Chicago Bulls clinch the first seed in the Eastern Conference with a 62-20 record. This record was a testament to the team’s success, and Rose played a crucial part in it. The Bulls later reached the Eastern Conference Finals, where they faced off against the formidable Miami Heat. Unfortunately, they lost 4-1, but the Bulls’ journey was an incredible achievement in and of itself.