Single page view By David Schoenfield
Page 2

Kareem won six times. MJ won five. Bird and Magic each won three. So did Moses. Even the Mailman won two.

SHAQ'S MVP VOTING HISTORY
1993 – 7th (Charles Barkley)
1994 – 4th (Hakeem Olajuwon)
1995 – 2nd (David Robinson)
1996 – 9th (Michael Jordan)
1997 – 9th (Karl Malone)
1998 – 4th (Michael Jordan)
1999 – 6th (Karl Malone)
2000 – 1st
2001 – 3rd (Allen Iverson)
2002 – 3rd (Tim Duncan)
2003 – 5th (Tim Duncan)
2004 – 6th (Kevin Garnett)
2005 – 2nd (Steve Nash)

But Shaquille O'Neal has received just one NBA Most Valuable Player award. With Shaq's latest voting defeat to Steve Nash, some are even wondering if there is a conspiracy of sorts against him, an anti-Shaq voting bloc. That's unlikely, since Shaq is generally well-liked by the sportswriters who vote on the award.

But why just one MVP trophy for a player regarded as the most dominating of his generation? It just doesn't make sense.

Or does it?

1993
Shaq was a larger-than-life figure from his first day in the NBA, and he averaged 23.4 points and 13.9 rebounds (second in the league). Orlando improved from 21 to 41 wins and Shaq finished seventh in the MVP voting as Charles Barkley captured the award (in his first year in Phoenix). Three other centers – Hakeem Olajuwon (second), Patrick Ewing (fourth) and David Robinson (sixth) – finished ahead of Shaq (along with Michael Jordan and Dominique Wilkins). A seventh-place finish seems justified.

1994
Shaq increased his scoring to 29.3 points and averaged 13.2 rebounds (both second in the league), and led the NBA in field-goal percentage. Orlando improved to 50 wins. Amazingly, Shaq was only third-team All-NBA, behind Olajuwon and Robinson, and finished fourth in the MVP voting. (Olajuwon, who led the Rockets to 58 wins, won in Jordan's first year of retirement.)

Think about that for a minute. Patrick Ewing finished fifth in the MVP vote and was only the fourth-best center in the league! Alonzo Mourning was in the league averaging 20/10 and couldn't get a sniff of the All-NBA third team. Today, we get Zydrunas Ilgauskas making All-Star teams and Nazr Mohammed turning into a playoff force. Anyway, it's important to note that Olajuwon and Robinson (first- and second-team all-defense) were regarded as superior defensive players to Shaq. According to the Player Efficiency Rating at basketball-reference.com, Shaq was the second-most effective player in the league, behind Robinson and ahead of Olajuwon. B-R also ranks him third in Player Wins, behind Robinson and Olajuwon. His fourth-place finish in the MVP vote appears justified (although he should have finished ahead of Scottie Pippen).

1995
Shaq averaged 29.3 points and 11.4 rebounds and finished second to Robinson in the MVP vote, although The Admiral easily outdistanced him in first-place votes, 73 to 12.

Let's compare:

THE DIESEL VS. THE ADMIRAL
Stat Shaq Robinson
Points 29.3 26.7
Rebounds 11.4 10.8
FG % 58.3 53.0
FT % 53.3 77.4
Blocks 2.4 4.1
Wins 57 62

Continued...


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MVP HACK-A-SHAQ?