Kevin Durant and LeBron James debate which 1990s centers would be modern NBA MVPs

Over the past few NBA seasons, the big men have made a resurgence. In fact, the last four MVPs were paint-focused players. Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokic earned his second consecutive MVP a few weeks ago, and Milwaukee Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo also won it back-to-back from 2019-2020.

With the big man’s revival in full effect, Brooklyn Nets forward Kevin Durant took to Twitter with a debate-worthy question. Which 1990s-era centers would be up for modern NBA Most Valuable Player honors? He suggested Basketball Hall of Fame members Patrick Ewing, David Robinson and Shaquille O’Neal. The latter two won MVP material during their playing days, with Robinson winning it in 1995 and O’Neal earning the honor in 2000.

Basketball Twitter had a plethora of responses, including some from players past and present. Rayford Young, the father of Atlanta Hawks guard Trae Young, had only one name in mind in response to Durant’s question. The elder Young played for Texas Tech in college from 1996-2000 and then professionally in France.

A little later, Los Angeles Lakers superstar and four-time MVP LeBron James shared his picks. He and Durant agreed on Robinson and O’Neal, but James chose Hakeem Olajuwon over Ewing. Olajuwon won the MVP title in 1994.

While that’s a great conversation to have, we’ll never know if these old-school centers could really challenge for today’s NBA MVP material. Who would make your list?

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