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Russell and Bird with three consecutive MVPs. How will Tatum make out?

 Only three NBA players have garnered three MVP trophies in consecutive years. Two of them are former Celtics, namely Bill Russell and Larry Bird. Wilt Chamberlain rounds out the trio.

Jayson Tatum has a fair shot as League MVP this season, so I thought I would compare Jayson's stats from last season with those of The Birdman from his first MVP season, 1984.

Tatum (2021-22): 35.9 MPG - 26.9 PPG - 8.0 RPG - 4.4 APG - 1.0 SPG - 0.6 BPG

Bird (1983-84): 38.7 MPG - 24.2 PPG - 10.1 RPG - 6.6 APG - 1.8 SPG - 0.9 BPG

Bird takes 5-of-6 categories, while Tatum gets the nod on points per game. Larry takes two more categories (FG% and FT%), and Jayson takes the 3-point award. End result is Bird wins seven categories, and Tatum takes two. 

Also interesting to note that the Celtics won two Titles in two of the seasons (1984, 1986) where Larry walked away with the MVP trophy. Did Larry Bird acquire those MVP awards because he was white? That's what former-Piston Dennis Rodman reportedly said, supported by teammate Isiah Thomas:

Rodman: "He's not God. He ain't the best player in the NBA, not to me... He's white. That's the reason he gets it the MVP award. Nobody gives Magic Johnson credit. He deserved it last year, too. I don't care. Go ahead and tell him. You'll put it in the paper anyway."

Thomas: "I think Larry is a very, very good basketball player. He's an exceptional talent. But I have to agree with Rodman. If he were black, he'd be just another good guy."

No, Larry didn't pick up those MVP awards because he was white. Bird was a spectacular basketball player who deserved the Awards and Championships. Can Jayson Tatum reach his level of play and garner his first MVP Award this coming season? He will have heavy competition, but it is possible. Like Bird, Tatum has the potential to be a transcendent NBA player. The outcome rests in his lap.


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