Michael Jordan and Shaquille O’Neal are the only players in NBA history to have three championships, three Finals MVPs, and three straight seasons of winning an NBA championship.
Michael Jordan and Shaquille O’Neal are the only players who have 3 championships and 3 Finals MVPs in a row.
Michael Jordan and Shaquille O’Neal are widely considered as two of the best basketball players of all time, with the majority of fans and commentators ranking them among the top ten all-time players. While each player had a unique playing style, they were all dominating in their own periods and had an accomplishment that no other player has. Jordan and O’Neal are the only players in NBA history to win three titles and three consecutive Finals MVP awards.
They are the only two players to have achieved this feat since no one else in their period was as dominating as they were. Unlike Jordan, who executed it with elegance and flair, O’Neal did it with brute power and ferocity. In the context of history and the future, this accomplishment is unlikely to be repeated.
With two three-peats, Michael Jordan became the GOAT.
It’s impossible to deny Michael Jordan’s status as the greatest basketball player of all time. Between 1991 and 1993, he earned three consecutive Finals MVP awards, and he did it again between 1996 and 1998. He is the only player in NBA history with two 3-pointers and six Finals MVPs. That accomplishment should be enough to earn Jordan a spot on Mt. Rushmore, but just in case you’re not persuaded, here’s how he did it.
Jordan’s first three-peat victory might be the greatest of his career. His initial three-peat playoff performances were legendary, including fights against the Mark Price Cavaliers, Patrick Ewing Knicks, and the Bad Boy Pistons. Jordan’s first Finals battle was against Magic Johnson and the Los Angeles Lakers, in which he averaged 31 points per game and 11 assists per game. His second outing in the Finals was against the Portland Trail Blazers, when he crushed Clyde Drexler. Finally, he defeated the Phoenix Suns, who were headed by MVP Charles Barkley.
On two occasions, he completed a three-peat against the Seattle SuperSonics and the Utah Jazz. Hall of Famers like Charles Barkley, Patrick Ewing, and Karl Malone never had a chance to win an NBA title because of Jordan. Jordan was the most outstanding performance in every Finals visit, cementing his status as the GOAT after winning his sixth ring and sixth Finals MVP in 1998.
Shaquille O’Neal has completed the greatest run in NBA history.
Shaquille O’Neal, like Jordan, won three consecutive titles and three Finals MVP awards as the greatest player in the NBA. Since a peak Wilt Chamberlain, O’Neal was the most dominating physical force between 2000 and 2002. Shaq was so dominating that he only scored under 30 points once in 15 Finals appearances during his three-peat. O’Neal put up videogame statistics against the Indiana Pacers, Philadelphia 76ers, and New Jersey Nets.
He had 43 points and 19 rebounds in his first Finals game against the Pacers, and he followed it up with 40 points and 24 rebounds in his second game. His greatest all-around performance came in Game 2 of the next season against the Sixers, when he had 28 points, 20 rebounds, 9 assists, and 8 blocks. O’Neal also guided the Lakers to an amazing 12-3 record in those 15 games. There will never be another Shaquille O’Neal in terms of sheer domination.
Close Calls For Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, And Kevin Durant
While Jordan and O’Neal are the only players to have won three consecutive championships and three Finals MVP awards, a few others came close. Between 2000 and 2002, Kobe Bryant played alongside Shaq during the Lakers’ three-peat, but he couldn’t match O’Neal’s statistical supremacy. Bryant, on the other hand, came close in the seasons 2008-2010. Bryant and the Lakers reached the Finals three years in a row, losing the first year but winning the following two. That first season, Bryant faced a strong Boston Celtics squad, leaving him with two Finals MVPs and no opportunity to join Jordan and Shaq in the Hall of Fame.
LeBron James came close to becoming the greatest player in the decade. With the Miami Heat, he built the most skilled superteam in NBA history (until the Golden State Warriors) and led them to four consecutive NBA Finals appearances from 2011 to 2014. James squandered a chance to join Jordan and Shaq as the only players in NBA history to win three consecutive championships and three Finals MVP awards, but he fell to the Mavericks in 2011 and the Spurs in 2014. James has won four Finals MVP awards, but he has never led his club to a three-peat.
Finally, Kevin Durant came the closest, but his season was cut short due to injury. When Durant joined the Warriors as a free agent, he made them unstoppable, and they were more talented than anybody else. That is why they reached three consecutive Finals from 2017 to 2019, with Durant winning Finals MVP in each of the first two years. Durant had a chance to win his third title in 2019, but he tore his Achilles tendon, and the Warriors were stunned by the Toronto Raptors. Bryant, James, and Durant all came close, but no one will ever be able to match Jordan and O’Neal’s dominance during their three-peats.
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