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The Bill Russell NBA Finals Most Valuable Player Award (formerly known as the NBA Finals Most Valuable Player Award) is an annual National Basketball Association (NBA) award given since the 1969 NBA Finals. The award is decided by a panel of eleven media members, who cast votes after the conclusion of the Finals. The person with the highest number of votes wins the award.[1] The award was originally a black trophy with a gold basketball-shaped sphere at the top, similar to the Larry O'Brien Trophy, until a new trophy was introduced in 2005 to commemorate Bill Russell.[2][3]

Since its inception, the award has been given to 30 different players. Michael Jordan is a record six-time award winner.[4] Magic Johnson, Shaquille O'Neal, Tim Duncan and LeBron James won the award three times in their careers. Jordan and O'Neal are the only players to win the award in three consecutive seasons (Jordan accomplished the feat on two separate occasions). Johnson is the only rookie ever to win the award,[5] as well as the youngest at 20 years old.[6] Andre Iguodala is the only winner to have not started every game in the series.[7] Jerry West, the first ever awardee, is the only person to win the award while being on the losing team in the NBA Finals.[4] Willis Reed, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Larry Bird, Hakeem Olajuwon and Kobe Bryant won the award twice. Olajuwon, Bryant, and James have won the award in two consecutive seasons. Abdul-Jabbar and James are the only players to win the award for two different teams. Olajuwon of Nigeria, who became a naturalized U.S. citizen in 1993, Tony Parker of France, and Dirk Nowitzki of Germany are the only international players to win the award. Duncan is an American citizen, but is considered an "international" player by the NBA because he was not born in one of the fifty states or Washington, D.C.[8] Parker and Nowitzki are the only winners to have been trained totally outside the U.S.; Olajuwon played college basketball at Houston and Duncan at Wake Forest. Cedric Maxwell is the only Finals MVP winner eligible for the Hall of Fame who has not been voted in.[9]

On February 14, 2009, during the 2009 NBA All-Star Weekend in Phoenix, then-NBA Commissioner David Stern announced that the award would be renamed the "Bill Russell NBA Finals Most Valuable Player Award" in honor of 11-time NBA champion Bill Russell.[10]

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