Two-Minute Moments: When The Hive-Mind Took Over MVP Voting (But Maybe For The Better?)

In the 1980–81 season, the revolutionary ABA-NBA merger occurred. However, there was also the less-covered seismic shift in professional basketball: a change in MVP voting.

For the first time, it would be the media, not the players, deciding the MVP. It had an immediate impact.

See that huge jump after 1981? The effect of the changed voting policy.

Even in years the MVP probably wasn’t the best player (e.g. Derrick Rose, 2011) they still got a huge share of votes after the change (97.7%, Rose).

So why is there now a “hive-mind” MVP award? Does it have to do with an increased importance surrounding being “MVP”? Is it because media members talk to each other, and get more or less the same information, whereas NBA players have different perspectives, biases and inside knowledge on what makes a great player? Or is it that journalists, analysts and the like have similar mindsets stemming from having to hold certain opinions to become reputable? Do NBA players hold grudges the media doesn’t, affecting voting? Lots of questions. Lets save them for next time.