The winner is selected by a panel of US and Canadian sportswriters, each casting first, second, and third place votes (worth five points, three points, and one point respectively). The player(s) with the highest point total, regardless of the number of first-place votes, wins the award.
Prior to the 1952–53 season, the Rookie of the Year was selected by newspaper writers; however, the NBA does not officially recognize those players as winners. The league did publish the pre-1953 winners in their 1994–95 edition of the Official NBA Guide and the 1994 Official NBA Basketball Encyclopedia, but those winners have not been listed in subsequent publications.
^ abThough drafted in 1962 by the Cincinnati Royals, Jerry Lucas did not sign with the team until 1963 when he tried to sign with the Cleveland Pipers of the American Basketball League instead. He ended up sitting out the year when the deal fell through. His rookie season with the Royals began in the 1963–64 season.
^ abcdefghDenotes seasons in which joint winners were named
^ abThough drafted in 1978 by the Boston Celtics, Larry Bird, opted to stay in college for his senior year, did not play in the NBA until 1979. His rookie season with the Celtics began in the 1979–80 season.
^ abThough drafted in 1987 by the San Antonio Spurs, David Robinson did not play in the NBA until 1989 due to commitments to the United States Navy. His rookie season with the Spurs began in the 1989–90 season.
^Because Tim Duncan is a United States citizen by birth, as are all natives of the U.S. Virgin Islands, he was able to play for the U.S. internationally. He represented the United States at the 2004 Summer Olympics
^ abThough drafted in 2009 by the Los Angeles Clippers, Blake Griffin missed the entire 2009–10 season due to a knee injury. His rookie season with the Clippers was the 2010–11 season.