Michael Jordan won his fifth Most Valuable Player award today, beating out Karl Malone and moving within one of the record set by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.
Jordan, trying to lead the Chicago Bulls to a sixth title this decade, accepted the trophy at a suburban hotel not far from his team's practice facility.He received 1,084 points to 842 for Malone, last year's surprise winner, from a panel of sports writers and broadcasters who cover the league's 29 teams. Jordan got 92 first-place votes to 20 for the Utah Jazz forward. John Stockton finished in a tie for 13th with Phoenix guard Jason Kidd with five points.
Jordan previously won the award in 1988, 1991, 1992 and 1996, and would have a chance to match Abdul-Jabbar's mark if he stays in basketball. Bill Russell of the Boston Celtics is the only other five-time winner.
Jordan led the league in scoring for the 10th time, although his 28.7 average was his lowest since his second year in the league.
He also had some of his worst career numbers in shooting percentage (46.5), free throw percentage (78.4), rebounds (5.8) and assists (3.5), but the voters rewarded him for leading the Bulls to a 62-20 record - tied with Utah for the best in the league - despite the absence of teammate Scottie Pippen for 35 games after undergoing foot surgery.
Gary Payton of Seattle was third with three first-place votes and 431 points. Shaquille O'Neal of the Los Angeles Lakers finished fourth with 311 points, including the other first-place vote.
The Bulls lead the Indiana Pacers 1-0 in the Eastern Conference final, with Game 2 Tuesday night.
NEW YORK (AP) - Top ten results of the voting for the 1998 NBA Most Valuable Player Award. First-place votes are in parentheses:
Player, Team Points
Michael Jordan, Chicago (92) 1,084
Karl Malone, Utah (20) 842
Gary Payton, Seattle (3) 431
Shaquille O'Neal, L.A. Lakers (1) 311
Tim Duncan, San Antonio 148
Tim Hardaway, Miami 71
David Robinson, San Antonio 36
Vin Baker, Seattle 24
Grant Hill, Detroit 23
Scottie Pippen, Chicago 14