In the 55-year history of the Milwaukee Bucks, two players have combined to win five MVP Awards. Let’s take a look at the five Bucks MVPs.
Milwaukee Bucks MVPs:
Bucks MVPs: 1970-1971 Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
In just his second season in the NBA, Abdul-Jabbar climbed the MVP mountain. He led the NBA with 31.7 points per game, pouring in 13 made twos per game as well as 5.7 free throws per game. He shot a healthy 57.7% from the field, the best of his Bucks career. Abdul-Jabbar cracked 2,500 points and 1,300 rebounds in one of the great big-man seasons in NBA history.
Abdul-Jabbar made his second All-Star Game and made the All-Defensive second team. Had the NBA officially recognized blocks and steals, he likely would have been among the league’s best. He made his first All-NBA first team, but Abdul-Jabbar ended the season by winning the ultimate trophy – Finals MVP – as he led the Bucks to the title in their third year of existence.
Bucks MVPs: 1971-1972 Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
Abdul-Jabbar was slightly better in 1972, edging out his 1971 marks in rebounds, assists, and points. He averaged a preposterous 34.8 points per game to go with 16.6 rebounds and 4.6 assists. Abdul-Jabbar led the Bucks to another 60-win season although they did not return to the Finals. He matched his excellent efficiency by shooting 57.4% on 24.9 shots per game.
For the third – and final – time in his career, Abdul-Jabbar led the NBA in scoring. He reached his peak in 1972 as a scorer, pouring in 2,822 points. He made another All-Star Game, earned his second first-team All-NBA nod, and finished 20th in the league in assists (as a center!). Once again, blocks and steals were not yet tracked by the league, but Abdul-Jabbar likely would have racked them up with ease.
Bucks MVPs: 1973-1974 Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
After a “down” year in 1973, Abdul-Jabbar returned to his throne of being the best player in the NBA. He played 81 or more games for the fourth time in five seasons, and he had strong averages of 27.0 points, 14.5 rebounds, 4.8 assists, 3.5 blocks, and 1.4 steals per game. He once again led the Bucks to the NBA Finals, but this time they fell in seven games to the Boston Celtics.
Abdul-Jabbar spent just one more season in Milwaukee before forcing a move to join the Los Angeles Lakers. For his Bucks career, Abdul-Jabbar scored over 14,000 points and grabbed 7,000 rebounds. He averaged 30.4 points per game to go with 15.3 rebounds per game. He led the Bucks to their only title in their first 50 seasons, but they would climb the mountain with a superstar decades later.
Bucks MVPs: 2018-2019 Giannis Antetokounmpo
Before Antetokounmpo was leading the Bucks to the Finals with iconic performance after iconic performance, he was putting up ludicrous numbers en route to league MVP. He had been a star-level player, making back-to-back second-team All-NBAs and posting ridiculous stat lines, but he ascended to being the best player of the 2019 season. He made first-team All-Defense, received 93% of the MVP vote, and flat-out dominated.
The major jump Antetokounmpo made was in his efficiency. In 2018, he shot well from the field – 52.9% – but he shot an absurd 57.8% in 2019, increasing his scoring average to 27.7 points per game. He also added 12.5 rebounds per game, 5.9 assists per game, and over a steal and block per game. He was third in points per game, sixth in rebounds per game, and even 10th in blocks per game.
Bucks MVPs: 2019-2020 Giannis Antetokounmpo
As Abdul-Jabbar did decades earlier, Antetokounmpo followed up his first MVP with an even better second act. Antetokounmpo improved as a three-point shooter, knocking down more than 1.0 per game for the first time in his career. He added 1.8 points per game to his scoring average and 1.1 rebounds per game to his rebounding average. Antetokounmpo continued to be a walking triple-double, and he likely would have set a career-high in triple-doubles had the season not been stopped due to COVID-19.
Antetokounmpo has not won MVP in the last two seasons, and he likely will not win it this year, but he is always among the favorites. He had a monster 2021 season, leading the Bucks to an NBA Finals triumph, but he seems to get better and better as the years go on. He has averaged over 27 and 11 in five straight seasons while being an elite defense and crafty playmaker. More MVPs could be in the cards for the 28-year-old.