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The Bill Russell NBA Finals Most Valuable Player Award (formerly known as the NBA Finals Most Valuable Player Award) is an annual National Basketball Association (NBA) award given since the 1969 NBA Finals. The award is decided by a panel of nine media members, who cast vote after the conclusion of the Finals. The person with the highest votes wins the award. In at least one NBA Finals, fans balloting on NBA.com accounted for the tenth vote. The award was originally a black trophy with a gold basketball-shaped sphere at the top, similar to the Larry O'Brien Trophy, until a new trophy was introduced in 2005.
Since its inception, the award has been given to 28 different players. Michael Jordan is a record six-time award winner. Earvin Johnson, Shaquille O'Neal, and Tim Duncan won the award three times in their careers. Jordan and O'Neal are the only players to win the award in three consecutive seasons (Jordan accomplished the feat on two separate occasions). Johnson is the only rookie ever to win the award, as well as the youngest at 20 years old. Jerry West, the first ever awardee, is the only person to win the award while being on the losing team in the NBA Finals. Willis Reed, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Larry Bird, Hakeem Olajuwon, Kobe Bryant, and LeBron James won the award twice. Olajuwon, Bryant, and James have won the award in two consecutive seasons. Abdul-Jabbar is the only player to win the award for two different teams. Olajuwon of Nigeria, who became a naturalized U.S. citizen in 1993, Tony Parker of France (born in Belgium), and Dirk Nowitzki of Germany are the only international players to win the award. Duncan is an American citizen, but is considered an "international" player by the NBA because he was not born in one of the fifty states or Washington, D.C. Parker and Nowitzki are the only winners to have been trained totally outside the U.S.; Olajuwon played college basketball at Houston and Duncan at Wake Forest. Cedric Maxwell is the only Finals MVP winner eligible for the Hall of Fame who has not been voted in.
On February 14, 2009, during the 2009 NBA All-Star Weekend in Phoenix, then-NBA Commissioner David Stern announced that the award would be renamed the "Bill Russell NBA Finals Most Valuable Player Award" in honor of 11-time NBA champion Bill Russell.
||Denotes player who is still active in the NBA
||Elected to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame
||Denotes the number of times the player has received the Finals MVP award
||Denotes the number of times a player from this team has received the Finals MVP award
- ^ Jerry West is the only player to win the award while being on the losing team in the NBA Finals.
- ^ a b Before the 1971–72 season, Lew Alcindor changed his name to Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.
- ^ a b Hakeem Olajuwon was born in Nigeria, but became a naturalized United States citizen in 1993.
- ^ a b c Because Tim Duncan is a United States citizen by birth, as are all natives of the U.S. Virgin Islands, he was able to play for the U.S. internationally.
- ^ Tony Parker was born in Belgium to an American father and a Dutch mother. He holds French citizenship and represents France internationally.
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- ^ https://sports.yahoo.com/news/nba--danny-green-spurs-nba-finals-3-pointers-cedric-maxwell-224343936.html
- ^ "The Finals MVP to Receive Bill Russell MVP Award". NBA/Turner Sports Interactive, Inc. February 14, 2009. Retrieved February 14, 2009.
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