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Jordan Officially Becomes Five-Time, and Oldest, MVP

<i> From Staff and Wire Reports</i>

Michael Jordan, 35, became the oldest NBA player to win the most-valuable-player award when the league formally announced he had won for the fifth time Monday.

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, who won his last one in 1980 at 33, is the only player who won more, with six.

Jordan’s trophy was presented by the only other five-time winner, Bill Russell.

“I’ve been asked who was the best player that ever played . . . and it was never a question to me,” Russell told Jordan. “I never thought about who was the best player. But I would just say this about you. . . . I cannot imagine anyone playing the game better than you. . . .

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“I’ve watched you play hundreds of times and every night you play like Michael Jordan. And that’s been going on for a long time. . . . I’ve never seen a game where you sent your shoes or your uniform out there and took the night off. The thing I really, really enjoy, you see games where things are not going exactly the way you want them to go and watch you figure out how to win this game.

“I guess the reason I enjoy them so much is because I felt I went through the same kinds of things, I feel like you’re a soulmate.”

“The biggest trophy I could gather today is that a legend like Bill Russell could take time out of his schedule to come here and present the trophy to me,” Jordan said. “That is true respect, and a touch of some of the past success and history of the game of basketball that somehow gets forgotten in today’s game.”

Jordan was the first selection of 92 of the 116 voting media members. Utah’s Karl Malone, who won last season at age 33, ran second, with 20 first-place votes, followed by Seattle’s Gary Payton, who had three, and the Lakers’ Shaquille O’Neal, who had one.

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Jordan By the Numbers

Michael Jordan’s numbers in his MVP seasons:

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Year FG% FT% Reb Ast Pts 1987-88 .535 .841 5.5 5.9 35.0 1990-91 .539 .851 6.0 5.5 31.5 1991-92 .519 .832 6.4 6.1 30.1 1995-96 .495 .834 6.6 4.3 30.4 1997-98 .465 .784 5.8 3.5 28.7

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Average numbers in MVP seasons:

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FG% FT% Reb Ast Pts .513 .828 6.1 5.6 31.1

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Average numbers in non-MVP seasons:

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FG% FT% Reb Ast Pts .499 .845 6.4 5.2 31.7

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THE VOTE

First-place votes in parentheses:

Michael Jordan, Chicago (92): 1,084

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Karl Malone, Utah (20): 842

Gary Payton, Seattle (3): 431

Shaquille O’Neal, Lakers (1): 311

Tim Duncan, San Antonio: 148

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Tim Hardaway, Miami: 71

David Robinson, San Antonio: 36

Vin Baker, Seattle: 24

Grant Hill, Detroit: 23

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Scottie Pippen, Chicago: 14

Glen Rice, Charlotte: 7

Antoine Walker, Boston: 6

Jason Kidd, Phoenix: 5

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John Stockton, Utah: 5

Mitch Richmond, Sacramento: 3

Reggie Miller, Indiana: 2

Rik Smits, Indiana: 2

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Michael Finley, Dallas: 1

Rod Strickland, Washington: 1

MOST MVPs

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Milw./Lakers 6

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Michael Jordan, Chicago 5

Bill Russell, Boston 5

Wilt Chamberlain, Philadelphia 4

Larry Bird, Boston 3

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Magic Johnson, Lakers 3

Moses Malone, Houston/Phila. 3

Bob Pettit, St. Louis 2

Charles Barkley, Phoenix 1

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Bob Cousy, Boston 1

Dave Cowens, Boston 1

Julius Erving, Philadelphia 1

Hakeem Olajuwon, Houston 1

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Karl Malone, Utah 1

Bob McAdoo, Buffalo 1

Willis Reed, New York 1

Oscar Robertson, Cincinnati 1

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David Robinson, San Antonio 1

Wes Unseld, Baltimore 1

Bill Walton, Portland 1


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