Here’s a sports prediction almost certain to come true: The MVP of this year’s NBA Finals between Miami and Oklahoma City will eventually be enshrined in the Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Mass., basketball’s birthplace.
To see why this isn’t going out on a limb, just check the record. Since 1969, when the league first selected the Most Valuable Player of the Finals, only two MVPs have not made the hall (JoJo White of the Boston Celtics and Dennis Johnson of the Seattle SuperSonics).
Another safe prediction is that even after retirement, most former playoff MVPs will keep their hand in the game, at least to some degree. Virtually all do.
As for why superstars have a virtual lock on the MVP in basketball more than the other major pro team sports, it’s all pretty simple, really. The stars get a lion’s share of the playing time during a minimum of four games in which they are constantly leaving their mark on the proceedings.
By the way, one NBA Finals MVP is playing in the current series: Miami’s Dwayne Wade. The other still-active players who’ve been MVPs and will no doubt be voted into the Hall of Fame after their retirement are Dirk Nowitzki, Kobe Bryant, Paul Pierce, Tony Parker, Tim Duncan, and Chauncey Billups.
Find out what former Finals MVPs are doing today, as near as can be determined:
1969 – Boston beat L.A., 4-3
What he’s doing: West is now a executive board member of the Golden State Warriors after a long and successful career in the front offices of the Los Angeles Lakers and Memphis Grizzlies. His responsibilities call on him to report directly to the owners on everything from basketball operations to marketing. While the Lakers general manager, L.A. won eight championships. In 2011, he came out with a blockbuster autobiography, “West on West,” with coauthor Jonathan
Coleman in which he for the first time revealed his long battle with depression. West, who lives in Bel Air, Calif, near Los Angeles, is the only player from a losing team to be named MVP of the NBA Finals.
1 of 20