This season, the Trail Blazers have unveiled several festivities tied to the 50-year anniversary of the organization. To keep with that theme, we are taking a look back at Portland’s history with each league-wide award. Today’s focus looks at the players that earned the NBA’s Most Valuable Player award for their work in a Blazers uniform. Along with the winners, we take a brief look at the players who narrowly missed out on securing that honor.
- Bill Walton | C | Season: 1977-78
In just 58 regular season contests, Walton held off Spurs legend George Gervin to claim the NBA’s top individual award. Led by Walton’s work in the post, the Blazers’ followed up their title-winning season by going 50-10 through their first 60 games. During that stretch, the big fella posted 18.9 points and 13.2 rebounds per game. Unfortunately, Walton’s troublesome injury history returned, sidelining him for the final portion of the season.
Walton returned briefly for the 1978 Playoffs, only to suffer a fracture in his left foot. Shortly after evaluating the procedures the Blazers’ medical staff followed, Walton asked to be traded.
- Bill Walton | C | Season: 1976-77
Prior to securing the MVP award, Walton finished just behind fellow UCLA star Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. Walton finished the year leading the NBA in rebounds (14.4) and blocks (3.2) per game. Unlilke Abdul-Jabbar, who played a full 82-game slate, Walton appeared in 65 regular season games. The Blazers would go on to sweep the Lakers in the Conference Finals before dispatching the 76ers for the 1977 title.
- Clyde Drexler | SG | Season: 1991-92
Drexler was a regular fixture on the MVP ballot during the Blazers’ dominance over the Western Conferene. For his work in the 1991-92 season, Drexler finished just behind Michael Jordan for MVP honors. Jordan aside, the Blazers’ legend received more votes than both David Robinson (third in voting) and Karl Malone (fourth). Drexler averaged 25 points per game as the Portland cruised to a 57-25 record.