Winning an NBA Finals MVP award despite losing the series is a bittersweet and rare feat. Who was the last player to pull it off?
On a scale of 1-10, losing the NBA Finals has got to be a 1 and winning has got to be an 11.
But what if losing came along with universal praise from the basketball world despite it all? What if you lost and still won the NBA Finals MVP?
Only one man knows how that feels.
Who was the last player to win NBA Finals MVP from the losing team?
Jerry West won the inaugural NBA Finals MVP award in 1969. He is the only player in league history to win it despite playing for the losing team. His Lakers lost to the Bill Russell-coached Celtics in seven games.
West averaged 37.9 points, 4.7 rebounds and 7.4 assists per game in what was a truly epic performance shooting 49 percent from the field.
There’s a reason he’s the logo.
Since West’s victory in defeat, the Finals MVP has always belonged to the winning side. That makes sense. A player that powers their team to a championship is usually the most deserving. That doesn’t mean there haven’t been losers who would have been worthy of the MVP nod.
It’s become a conversation again in 2022 thanks to Stephen Curry’s exceptional play for the Warriors against the Celtics. It would be fitting for the second-ever losing MVP to come against the Celtics, though if you ask Curry, he’d certainly rather get the series win instead.