Larry Bird received 73 of 78 first lace votes and 765 of a possible 780 points in running away with his third consecutive MVP award, which was presented during a noon luncheon at Boston Garden's Blades and Boards Club. Dominique Wilkins of the Atlanta Hawks was second with the five remaining first-place votes and 407 points. Magic Johnson of the Lakers was third.
Bird is only the third player in the 40-year history of the league to win the award three straight years. Bill Russell of the Celtics won from 1961-63, and Wilt Chamberlain won from 1966-68.
"I never saw Bill Russell play, but I remember the first time I heard of him," Bird said. "My cousin said we should go outside and play basketball, and he would be Bill Russell and I would be Wilt. I didn't know who Wilt was, and my cousin told me he was famous. We kept statistics for the game, wrote 'em down on paper. I remember that. We were little kids, and I think I had 97 rebounds. That shows you how good we were at shooting."