Special Report

The Most Popular NBA MVPs of All Time

By winning the 2022 NBA Finals with the Golden State Warriors, Stephen Curry has secured his fourth NBA Championship and first NBA Finals MVP and cemented his place as one of the greatest basketball players of all time.

The two-time MVP has dazzled NBA fans for over a decade with his incredible three-point shooting and skillful ball handling. Even notoriously cynical basketball fans on social media lauded Curry. The social media discussion of Curry tends to be much more positive than that surrounding many of the other best NBA players ever.

To determine the most beloved NBA MVPs of all time, 24/7 Tempo reviewed a study from gaming company Betway. The study used social listening tool Linkfluence to determine what percentage of online social media conversations about past NBA MVPs were positive. 

It is possible that much of the social media conversation about previous MVPs could be chalked up to recency bias – eight of the top 20 players are still active, and several others retired recently. These are the most successful athletes of the 20th century.

All-time greats like Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Wilt Chamberlain, and Bill Russell are certainly beloved, but many of the social media users in the study are likely too young to remember their exploits. 

The 20 players on this list have claimed 33 of the 67 total NBA MVP awards handed out in league history. These athletes are all revered for their unique skills and signature moves – explosive drives to the basket, clutch shots in big moments, rim-rattling dunks, unstoppable fadeaway jumpers, and more.

Even the most beloved MVPs are not loved by everyone. The vast majority of online conversations about these players are negative or neutral. For every NBA fan base that loves a player on their team, there are 29 other fan bases hoping that player fails. NBA fans on Twitter and other social media sites like to argue about which players deserved the MVP award more, which would have dominated in another era, and which ones are overrated.

Click here to see the most popular NBA MVPs of all time

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