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What kicks do NBA MVPs wear?

We all know that winning the NBA MVP is a big deal. Being crowned the best player in Basketball for an 82 game NBA season is close to the pinnacle on any hoopers bucket list. It’s also a big deal for the companies that provide these superstar athletes with their shoes. With great success comes great popularity and with great popularity comes massive merchandise sales potential!

What Kicks do NBA MVPs wear? Since the introduction of the NBA MVP award in 1956 there have been 35 players to win the 67 NBA MVP titles. They have worn 11 different shoe brands, from the iconic Converse, the dominant Nike to the largely unknown Dunk.Net’s.

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Below is a list of Shoe Brands ranked by most MVP titles

BrandMVPs
Nike23
Converse22
Adidas11
Under Armour2
APEX2
Jordan Brand2
Reebok1
Dunk.Net1
LA Gear1
Pony’s1
Pro Keds1

Read on to find out who wore the Pro-Keds, the LA Gear and what exactly Dunk.Net Chromz are! But first…a list!

List of NBA MVP winners with Shoe Brand worn year of winning

SeasonNBA MVPTeamShoe BrandShoe Model
2022Nikola JokicDenver NuggetsNikeGT Jump
2021Nikola JokicDenver NuggetsNikeZoom Rize 2
2020Giannis AntetokounmpoMilwaukee BucksNikeZoom Freak 1
2019Giannis AntetokounmpoMilwaukee BucksNikeKobe AD Exodus
2018James HardenHouston RocketsAdidasHarden Vol.1
2017Russell WestbrookOklahoma City ThunderJordan BrandAir Jordan 30.5 (Custom)
2016Stephen CurryGolden State WarriorsUnder ArmourCurry 2
2015Stephen CurryGolden State WarriorsUnder ArmourCurry 1
2014Kevin DurantOklahoma City ThunderNikeKD VI
2013LeBron JamesMiami HeatNikeLebron X
2012LeBron JamesMiami HeatNikeLebron 9
2011Derrick RoseChicago BullsAdidasAdizero Rose 1
2010LeBron JamesCleveland CavaliersNikeAir Max Lebron VII
2009LeBron JamesCleveland CavaliersNikeAir Max Lebron VI
2008Kobe BryantLos Angeles LakersNikeZoom III
2007Dirk NowitzkiDallas MavericksNikeAir Force 25’s (Custom)
2006Steve NashPhoenix SunsNikeAir Zoom
2005Steve NashPhoenix SunsNikeAir Zoom
2004Kevin GarnettMinnesota TimberwolvesAdidasKG Bounce
2003Tim DuncanSan Antonio SpursAdidasSuperstar A3
2002Tim DuncanSan Antonio SpursNikeDuncan II
2001Allen IversonPhiladelphia 76ersReebokAnswer 4
2000Shaquille O’NealLos Angeles LakersDunk.NetChromz
1999Karl MaloneUtah JazzAPEXMailman 32
1998Michael JordanChicago BullsJordan BrandAir Jordan 13
1997Karl MaloneUtah JazzAPEXAPEX
1996Michael JordanChicago BullsNikeAir Jordan 11
1995David RobinsonSan Antonio SpursNikeAir Max 2 Strong
1994Hakeem OlajuwonHouston RocketsLA GearCatapult
1993Charles BarkleyPhoenix SunsNikeAir Force Max
1992Michael JordanChicago BullsNikeAir Jordan 6
1991Michael JordanChicago BullsNikeAir Jordan 5
1990Magic JohnsonLos Angeles LakersConverseWeapon
1989Magic JohnsonLos Angeles LakersConverseWeapon
1988Michael JordanChicago BullsNikeAir Jordan 3
1987Magic JohnsonLos Angeles LakersConverseWeapon
1986Larry BirdBoston CelticsConverseWeapon
1985Larry BirdBoston CelticsConverseStar Tech
1984Larry BirdBoston CelticsConversePro
1983Moses MalonePhiladelphia 76ersNikeAir Force 1
1982Moses MaloneHouston RocketsNikeAir Force 1
1981Julius ErvingPhiladelphia 76ersConversePro
1980Kareem Abdul-JabbarLos Angeles LakersAdidasSky Hook
1979Moses MaloneHouston RocketsNikeAir Force 1
1978Bill WaltonPortland Trail BlazersAdidasSuperstar
1977Kareem Abdul-JabbarLos Angeles LakersAdidasSuperstar
1976Kareem Abdul-JabbarLos Angeles LakersAdidasSuperstar
1975Bob McAdooBuffalo BravesPony’sMcAdoo
1974Kareem Abdul-JabbarMilwaukee BucksPro KedsAll-Pros
1973David CowensBoston CelticsAdidasSuperstar
1972Kareem Abdul-JabbarMilwaukee BucksAdidasJabaar
1971Kareem Abdul-JabbarMilwaukee BucksAdidasJabaar
1970Willis ReedNew York KnicksConverseAll-star
1969Wes UnseldBaltimore BulletsConverseAll-star
1968Wilt ChamberlainPhiladelphia 76ersConverseAll-star
1967Wilt ChamberlainPhiladelphia 76ersConverseAll-star
1966Wilt ChamberlainPhiladelphia 76ersConverseAll-star
1965Bill RussellBoston CelticsConverseAll-star
1964Oscar RobertsonCincinnati RoyalsConverseAll-star
1963Bill RussellBoston CelticsConverseAll-star
1962Bill RussellBoston CelticsConverseAll-star
1961Bill RussellBoston CelticsConverseAll-star
1960Wilt ChamberlainPhiladelphia WarriorsConverseAll-star
1959Bob PettitSt. Louis HawksConverseAll-star
1958Bill RussellBoston CelticsConverseAll-star
1957Bob CousyBoston CelticsConverseAll-star
1956Bob PettitSt. Louis HawksConverseAll-star

NBA stars, like many of us mere mortals, are often MASSIVE sneaker heads. So may have worn more than just the listed model during any given NBA season, though the Shoe Brand will have remained the same. Research has attempted to highlight the main model of shoe the player wore in their MVP season.

Converse and the Early NBA MVP Dominance

It wasn’t until Adidas and Kareem won the MVP in 1971 that Converse dominance was broken. From the very early days of the NBA the Converse All-star was the shoe of most NBA players. Partly due to lack of choice and partly due to the excellent performance (relative to the time) and iconic, even back in the 60’s, of the shoe.

Names such as Wilt, Russell, Oscar Robertson and Bob Pettit all claimed MVP trophies while wearing Converse. Of the 22 MVP titles claimed while wearing Converse, 15 of them came before 1971.

Adidas and the 1970’s NBA MVPs

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar won 6 MVP titles during his hall of fame career. Still a record to this day.He won 5 of them wearing Adidas on his feet. Kareem was joined by David Cowens (1973) and Bill Walton (1978) as athletes wearing Adidas dominated the NBA between 1971 and 1980.

It wasn’t all Adidas as Kareem himself switched to Pro-Keds for his 1974 MVP title, Bob Macadoo followed that up in signature Pony’s in 1975 and we got to see the first MVP title won by a Nike Athlete as Moses Malone took home the trophy in 1979.

Adidas dominated on the court and in popular culture as Hip-Hop took off, taking the German apparel manufacturer with it.

11 NBA MVP titles have been won by Adidas athletes, 7 of them came before 1981. It would be more than a 20 year wait before the next Adidas clad MVP would hold the trophy aloft. In that time came the resurgence of Converse and the rise of Nike.

The 1980’s NBA MVPs and the return of Converse

When Magic and Bird entered the NBA in 1980 it propelled the league into the future. The NBA would never be the same again, in the best possible way. The explosion in popularity did drag back an old name to the fore of performance shoes. Following on from Dr J’s 1981  Converse clad NBA MVP campaign Converse would take Magic & Bird and rise to dominance once more.

Even before they started winning MVP trophies Magic and Bird propelled the NBA and with it Converse into the stratosphere. The 1980’s was the decade of showtime on the West Coast and Blue Collar work on the East. Converse served both these markets by enhancing the already very real rivalry between Bird and Magic.

They would ultimately win 3 MVP trophies each, added to Dr J’s 1979 title making another 7 and 22 in total for Converse. Magic would win the 1990 NBA MVP title wearing Converse, this remains their last MVP title win.

A new power in Basketball and popular culture had risen in the early 80’s and when they joined forces with the greatest player of all time, the shoe game would change forever.

Jordan, Nike and the NBA MVP – the 90’s

Moses Malone won the first of his 3 NBA titles in 1979. This was the first time Nike had gotten a taste of having the NBA MVP on its roster. Moses would win 2 more MVPs with Nike in 1982 and 1983 while Magic & Bird found their feet in the Pro’s.

Then in 1984 Nike would give a Rookie Guard out of North Carolina his own signature shoe. This had never been done before and it would never be done again to this much success.

Even before winning his first MVP title in 1988 Jordan and his shoes had taken the league by storm, even while surrounded by some of the greatest players of all time, Jordan stood out. The people loved him and they loved his shoes.

5 MVP titles, 6 actual titles, a hit movie and countless unbelievable on court moments later and Jordan’s brand would be established forever.

Nike have currently had 23 MVP titles won while wearing their shoes, more than any other brand. With the last 4 (Giannis 2019&20, Jokic 2021&22)  going to NIke athletes this dominance doesn’t look like ending soon.

That’s 23, not even including Jordan’s final MVP win in 1998 after he partnered with Nike to launch Jordan Brand. Jordan Brand won their second MVP in 2017 when Russell Westbrook won it while averaging a triple double for the entire season for the first time since Oscar Robertson.

Nike were so dominant even the first European to win an NBA MVP was wearing Nike. German Dirk Nowitski’s 2007 NBA MVP opened the floodgates on what has now become a deluge of European talent in the NBA.

Iverson, Shaq and LA Gear!

Since Jordan and Nike teamed up it’s not been ALL Nike and Jordan MVPs.

When Jordan took a break from Basketball to play Baseball it left a void at the top of the NBA. That void was filled largely by Hakeem Olajuwon and the Houston Rockets. They would claim both the 1994 & 1995 NBA titles and Hakeem would win the 1994 NBA MVP. His shoe of choice? LA Gear Catapults.

Karl Malone won a couple of MVP titles wearing APEX shoes. Including his own signature “Mailman” in 1999.

Reebok, a fairly big brand in the Basketball world won their only MVP title when Iverson crashed everyone’s parties in 2001.

Before that Shaquille O’Neal, one of the most dominant players of all time, won his only MVP wearing Dunk.Net Chromz. Never heard of them? Shaq, being Shaq, saw himself as a disruptor at the turn of the century. Launching an online only sales platform that was remarkably ahead of its time. The Chromz were the signature shoe of Dunk.Net and Shaq used them to stomp all over the league. Winning MVP and his first NBA title.