The Golden State Warriors and Andre Iguodala have the chance to join an illustrious group of NBA teams and players in 2016.
Iguodala was a surprise winner of the NBA Finals MVP award last season after not starting a game during the regular season before coming to the fore in the finals against the Cleveland Cavaliers as he overshadowed team-mate Stephen Curry and helped to shackle LeBron James.
by Keith Allison
With the Golden State Warriors among the leading contenders in the NBA Championship betting for the 2015/16 season, Iguodala has an opportunity to become a multiple winner of the MVP award, if his team win again.
And it’s a curious stat that the last five NBA teams to win the title in consecutive years also had the same player win the MVP award as well. Here, we take a look at that quintet:
MIAMI HEAT/LEBRON JAMES
As part of the ‘Big Three’ alongside Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh, James was the influential figure in the Heat winning the NBA title in 2012 and 2013. James was the leading points scorer in all five games when the Heat beat the Oklahoma City Thunder 4-1 in 2012. A year later, James was their top points scorer in three of their four victories as the only time the Heat led in the series was when they won the decider against the San Antonio Spurs
LOS ANGELES LAKERS/KOBE BRYANT
Bryant had been part of the Lakers side which had completed a hat-trick at the start of the millennium and he helped his side to beat the Orlando Magic 4-1 in 2009. The following year, the Lakers exacted revenge against Boston for a finals defeat two years earlier as they beat the Celtics 4-3, after being 3-2 down in the series, to give coach Phil Jackson his 11th NBA title.
LOS ANGELES LAKERS/SHAQUILLE O’NEAL
O’Neal had been overshadowed in the 1995 finals by Hakeem Olajuwon when the Orlando Magic lost to the Houston Rockets, but he was the main man as the Lakers won the title three years in a row. In a dominant run for both the Lakers and O’Neal, they beat the Indiana Pacers 4-2 in the final in 2000. A year later, the Philadelphia 76ers were beaten 4-1 and the New Jersey Nets were taken down 4-2 in 2002.
The success of the Bulls and Jordan in winning a hat-trick of championships from 1996 to 1998 was notable for many reasons. For a start, the Bulls became the first team to win a hat-trick of titles on two different occasions, while Jordan was the first player to win a hat-trick of NBA Finals MVP awards for a second time. When the Bulls won the title from 1991 to 1993, Jordan had already become the first player to win the MVP award two years in a row. On the second occasion, he led the Bulls to finals wins over the Seattle Supersonics in 1996, and against the Utah Jazz in 1997 and 1998.
HOUSTON ROCKETS/HAKEEM OLAJUWON
The Rockets won the NBA Finals for the first time in their franchise history in 1994 and Olajuwon was rewarded with the MVP award. Olajuwon had been part of the Rockets team which lost in the 1986 finals to the Boston Celtics, but he savoured victory on this occasion as he led his side to victory over the New York Knicks in the finals. A year later, the centre was again named MVP as the Rockets crushed the Orlando Magic 4-0 in the finals.