Suns G Nash named NBA MVP for second straight year
PHOENIX (TICKER) —Steve Nash has the distinction of becoming the shortest player to win back-to-back NBA MVP awards.
The league made it official on Sunday, naming the four-time All-Star point guard of the Phoenix Suns as the MVP for the second consecutive season.
Bryant won the scoring title, but finished fourth in the MVP voting.
Nash received 57 of a possible 125 first-place votes and 924 points from a panel of sportswriters and broadcasters throughout the United States and Canada.
“It feels a little bit uncomfortable to be singled out among the great players in the NBA two years in a row,” Nash said at a Sunday afternoon news conference. “I have to pinch myself. I thought it was unbelievable when I won last year. But I’m not going to give it back.”
Forward Tim Duncan of the San Antonio Spurs was the last back-to-back MVP winner in 2002 and 2003. The other players to win consecutive MVP honors were Michael Jordan (1991 and 1992), Magic Johnson (1989 and 1990), Larry Bird (1984-86), Moses Malone (1982-83), Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (1976 and 1977, 1971 and 1972), Wilt Chamberlain (1967-68) and Bill Russell (1961-63).
The only point guard in that elite pantheon of players is the 6-9 Johnson. No back-to-back MVP winner is shorter than Nash, who is listed at 6-3.
“Steve is not just a great player, but a player who makes everyone around him better,” Suns chairman and CEO Jerry Colangelo said. “There are very few players in the history of the game who direct and control the flow of the game like Steve.”
Bryant was second in first-place votes with 22, but finished fourth with 483 points. The superstar guard won his first scoring title with a 35.4 average this season and helped the Lakers to a 45-37 mark.
This season, Nash led the Suns to a 54-28 record and a second straight Pacific Division title despite the absence of All-Star Amare Stoudemire for all but three games. Once again, the Suns led the league in scoring (108.4 points per game).
“Plain and simple, Steve makes the team win and winning is what it’s all about,” Suns managing partner Robert Sarver said.
The driving force of the Suns’ relentless up-tempo attack, Nash led the league with 10.5 assists per game and set career highs in points (18.8), rebounds (4.2), field-goal percentage (51.2) and free-throw percentage (92.1).
Nash joined Reggie Miller (1993-94), Mark Price (1988-89) and Bird (1986-87, 1987-88) as the only players in league history to shoot at least 50 percent from the field, 40 percent from 3-point range and 90 percent from the free-throw line.
The 32-year-old Nash signed as a free agent with Phoenix in July 2004 and became the first Canadian citizen to win the MVP award last year when the Suns finished with the best record in the NBA.
The only other international player to earn MVP honors was Hakeem Olajuwon of Nigeria for the Houston Rockets in 1993-94.
In 2004-05, Nash averaged 15.5 points and a league-leading 11.5 assists per game and joined Charles Barkley (1993) as the only Suns to win the MVP award.
The 21-year-old James averaged 31.4 points, 7.0 rebounds and 6.6 assists and led the Cavaliers to a 50-32 record and their first playoff appearance since 1998.
Nowitzki averaged 26.6 points and 9.0 rebounds and led the Mavericks to the third-best record in the NBA at 60-22.