The Most Valuable Player (MVP) is regarded as one of the highest titles an NBA player can receive in basketball history. It takes the second position just after Hall of Fame honor. To win the MVP title, one must be the best player in the best league ever. Winning MVP also means defining basketball games in the first-ever 82 games of professional basketball.

Back to the question; Has a rookie player ever won MVP in the NBA? A staunch fan of basketball games can answer that. Its an obvious thing considering that the history if basketball has seen many legends who lifted its flag high. Starting from Wilt Chamberlain, Moses Malone, Bill Walton, and Wes Unseld, name them. These players have given the NBA the recognition it deserves on big screens. They are the same legends that gave birth to most loved sneakers in the markets, if you wondered what basketball players have sneakers. The perfect answer to the question is YES. To make it more comprehensive, let us look at the rookies who managed to carry this honor in the history of the NBA.

So far, MVP award has been won by two rookies; Wilt Chamberlain of Philadelphia Warriors in 1960 and Wes Unseld of Baltimore Bullets in 1969.

1. Wes Unseld.

Wes Unseld was the second rookie to win the title of MVP in the NBA. He was an undersized NBA player known for his perfectly placed passes, bruising picks, and magical rebounding. In his entire basketball career, he played with Washington Bullets (Baltimore Bullets), which later became its coach and the general manager.

Wes in the NBA

In the year1968, Wes picked the second position behind his teammate Elvin Hayes in the NBA draft and made his team Baltimore Bullets known. He dominated the NBA immediately and won the Rookie of the Year and the MVP in the same year with 13.8 points, 18.2 rebounds, and 2,6 assists. He's 6-foot-7, and 245 pounds gave him the power and savvy to outplay his opponents. This brought to his team a true sustained success that it has never experienced. His team also improved 21 wins.

Under Wes’s mysterious skills, the Bullets won the playoffs 12 consecutive times, reaching four NBA finals while Wes was an All-Star in all first four seasons and later in 1975. He is remembered for bringing the Bullets in the first position in their division, who were last before his drafting and making it a spot in the playoffs, although they lost their first-round to the New York Kniks. He also played 984 regular-season games and 119 playoffs.

After his retirement in 1981, he later returned as a coach to the Baltimore Bullets and led the team in 1136 games for seven seasons.


The NBA champion Wes Unseld retired with numerous awards including;

  • NBA Championship and Finals MVP 1978.

  • 5 NBA All-Star Selections 1969, 1972, 1972, 1973, 197

  • J. Walter Citizenship Award 1975

  • Gold Medal in Pan American Games with Team USA 1967.

He was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 1988.

2 Wilt Chamberlain

Do you know of any NBA player with the highest scoring record? If I may ask you a question like are basketball sneakers good for walking? As a basketball player, you should know that. The same applies to know who are the top scorers in NBA history. Well, one of them is Wilt Chamberlain. Wilt Chamberlain was the first rookie ever to win the MVP honor in the NBA. He was drafted as a territorial pick by the Philadelphia Warriors in 1959. With the average of 37.6 points off in 32.1 field goals attempts per game, Wilt went on to rule the league in his rookie campaign. He also shot at 46.1 field goal percentage and 27.0 rebounds in every game, averaging as a double-double rookie.

In 1960, Wilt was the first rookie to be named the ROY and MVP in the same season. He won against the defending champion Bill Russel, the same year in which Russel was to win the NBA Championship, with 18.2 points and 46.7 rebounds.

Wilt before the league

Wilt played with Harlem Globe Trotters in the year 1958-1959 since he was prohibited from joining the NBA for not finishing his college. He could not wait for the whole year and ended up amazing the crowds with his basketball skills. Due to his love for the basketball game, he would join the training and entertainment teams during off-seasons. Wilt played for three teams in his career; Philadelphia Warriors, San Francisco Warriors, and Los Angeles Lakers. I guess you know of these Lakers basketball uniforms and sneakers loved by many people outside the court, and wonder are basketball sneakers good for walking. Well, that was his team in his career journey.

Wilt was then drafted by the Philadelphia Warriors and speared up his career by competing for MVP in the NBA the year 1960. Unfortunately, after winning the honor, he could not manage to carry the playoffs' title as his team was swept in the first round by the New York Kniks in the playoffs. Before retiring, Wilt Chamberlain joined the Los Angeles Lakers in the 1968-1969 NBA season, where he won his second and final NBA championship.

In 1978, Chamberlain was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame.


Wilt Chamberlain is known as the king in the game. He is named as Wilt the Stilt, Mr.100. During his basketball career journey, he garnered numerous awards and records in the NBA. Some of his awards include;

  • NBA Rookie of the Year 1960.

  • NBA All-Star Game MVP 1960.

  • 4 MVP 1960, 1966, 1967, 1868.

  • 7 All-NBA first Team 1960, 1961, 1962, 1964, 1966, 1967, 1968.

  • 3 All-NBA Second Team, 1963, 1965, 1972.

  • 2 NBA Championship 1967, 1972

  • 1 Finals MVP, 1972.

  • 2 All-Defensive First Team d1972, 1973.

The world of basketball is still mourning the death of the legendary Wilt Chamberlain, who died in 1999.

Has Any Rookie Won The Finals MVP?

When we talk of players, we need to see all the aspects involved in the game. The same applies to their uniforms. For instance, when we talk about what they like wearing, including sneakers, we can ask ourselves are basketball shoes considered sneakers. The question might raise eyebrows, but it is the same thing as discussing NBA rookies who won MVP honors and fail to look at who won Finals MVP. So, has any rookie won Finals MVP?

Finals MVP is voted after the conclusion of the NBA Finals. Let’s get this right; it is voted by a panel of media members and decided after the MVP awards are given. Any player could win this award even if they lost in MVP competition. The award was first won by Jerry West, even though he was on a losing team. Magic Johnson also managed to win the award as a rookie at the age of 20 years.

NBA Rookie of the Year Winners ( ROY).

Rookie of the Year award is given to the top-performing basketball player in his first season. Since the beginning of the basketball games, there have been quite many rookies, and it is good if we look at how many carried homes this award. Therefore, we look at the youngest Rookies of the Year.

1. LeBron James.

LeBron James was drafted in the NBA by Cleveland Cavaliers in 2003. He scored 25 points in his first game in the NBA, being the highest in his time. He was the first rookie to win the Rookie of the Year award after a brilliant score of 21 points, six rebounds, and t6 assists. He won the award when he was aged 19.

2. Kevin Durant.

Kevin Durant is also won the award when he was 19 years old. The Seattle SuperSonics drafted Durant in the NBA with the second pick. For the 2007-2008 season, Kevin Durant was named the Rookie of the Year after scoring 20 points, four rebounds, and two assists.

3. Kyrie Irving.

Drafted by the Cleveland Cavaliers with the first pick in 2011, Kyrie Irving was named as the Rookie of the Year in the 2011-2012 NBA season after averagely scoring 19 points and five assists. Kyrie also recorded almost 40% shots from the three-point line. He won the award at the age of 20.

4. Luka Doncic

Atlanta Hawks drafted Luka Doncic in the NBA with the third overall pick in 2018. Scoring 26 points and six rounds, Luca has been a captivating rookie that the basketball has missed seeing after a long time. He stands as the youngest player to male seven three-pointers in a single game. He has winning records, including his triple-double score against the Milwaukee Bucks with 11 rebounds, 18 points, and ten assists. More are there to be said about Luca Doncic, but it is worth remembering that he was named as the Rookie of the Year at the age of 20 and had four out five triple-doubles that any teenager has ever recorded.

5. Andrew Wiggings.

Cleveland Cavaliers also drafted Andrew with the first overall pick in 2014. He was traded in a three-team deal to facilitate the return of LeBron James. He was named the Rookie of the Year when he was 20-year-old.

Who Are The Top Rookies of All Time in the NBA?

After knowing all about rookies and their awards, I think we remind ourselves who the topmost rookies are. Theses are the rookies whose names still rock in our ears when we cheer basketball game. These basketball legends gave us the best sneakers we wear in courts and off the courts. Through their field dominance, we learn how to make basketball sneakers less slippery to achieve more traction and copy them. Here is the simplified list of the most renowned rookies of all time;

1. Wilt Chamberlain.

Why don’t we salute this amazing player? Chamberlain, who was drafted in the NBA by Philadelphia Warriors in 1959, was named the Rookie of the Year after scoring an average of 37 points, 27 rebounds, and two assists. He also went ahead to win numerous awards, including 1 Final MVP IN 1972. Even after his death, Wilt is remembered as the first rookies to win the MVP award and ROY award in the same season.

2. Michael Jordan

Most people this basketball legend. Chicago Bulls drafted Michael Jordan in NBA with third pick the year 1984. During his rookie period, he averaged 28 points, six rounds and, six assists. His name is still common in many basketball uniforms and sneakers out there. You walk around and see many people putting on t-shirts with his name.

3. Oscar Robertson

Is this name familiar to you? Well, Oscar was drafted by Cincinnati Royals in 1960 with a territorial pick. During his rookie year, he averaged 31 points, ten rebounds, and nine assists. Oscar also managed an almost 30-point triple-double average during his time.

4. Walt Bellamy

Chicago Packers drafted this 6-11 center in the NBA in 1961. Bellamy was named an All-Star team four times in his basketball journey. With an average of 32 points, 19 rebound, and two assists, Bellamy was named the Rookie of the Year in 1961-1962. He played 14 seasons in the NBA and managed to playoff seven times.

5. Kareem Abdul- Jabbar

To close our list today is Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. He was drafted in the NBA with the first pick by Milwaukee Bucks in 1969. After averagely scoring 29 points, 15 rebounds, and four assists, he named the rookie of the year. He also garnered six championship awards in his 20 seasons.

The Bottom Line

Basketball has harbored more legends than you may think. Some are well known while others are not. These players have held their titles high with records that cannot be broken soon. From the article, we can see that only two players managed to win two titles in the same season; Wilt Chamberlain and Wes Unseld. They won ROY and MVP awards the same season. What of the top 5 rookies of all time? I hope you find it valuable too.


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