Today, the National Basketball Association released its line of newly redesigned playoff trophies, including two entirely new awards and a few more new trophy names.
Created in collaboration with artist Victor Solomon and Tiffany & Co., the new designs are all slight updates over their previous looks and create more consistency between the trophies representing the various levels of accomplishment throughout the NBA Playoffs. For example, the two trophies awarded following the NBA Finals are now gold from top-to-bottom, and the four trophies passed out after the two Conference Finals are silver on the top and gold on the bottom.
Let’s look at each one, starting with the top prize, the Larry O’Brien Trophy.
THE LARRY O’BRIEN TROPHY
The Larry O’Brien Trophy is awarded to the NBA’s Playoff Champion; it’s the NBA’s version of the NHL’s Stanley Cup or NFL’s Vince Lombardi Trophy. It was renamed in honor of O’Brien, the former NBA commissioner, in 1984.
The new design for the 25.5-inch tall, 30-pound Larry O’Brien Trophy sees a few tweaks, giving the award a much sleeker and modern look. The basketball and net components remain but are now centered within the base rather than off to the one side. The detailing on the ball and net representing the channels of the ball and the mesh of the net are now silver rather than thin engravings.
The base is now a series of two discs, replacing the single square layer — the top disc contains the names of the first 75 NBA Championship teams, and the lower disc allows enough room for the next 25. This will enable the new trophy design to carry on until the league’s 100th anniversary season in 2046. Below the base, underneath the trophy, is the brand new, absolutely amazing NBA Finals logo.
THE BILL RUSSELL TROPHY
Named for the 11 (yes eleven) time NBA champion, the Bill Russell Trophy has been presented annually to the Most Valuable Player of the NBA Finals since 2009.
The new NBA Finals MVP trophy remains 17.25 inches tall, and 11 pounds but is now clad entirely in gold vermeil to match the design of the new NBA Championship trophy. Like the Larry O’Brien, the net and basketball details are now silver instead of engraved. The trophy base also sees an update; the black is gone, the silver is gone, the NBA Finals is going all-in on the gold.
NBA CONFERENCE CHAMPIONSHIP TROPHIES
These two previously existing trophies are getting slightly new designs and completely new names. The Western Conference Championship Trophy will now be known as the Oscar Robertson Trophy, and its Eastern Conference counterpart will take on the name The Bob Cousy Trophy. Both Hall of Fame players served as early presidents of the NBA Player’s Association and won NBA Championships and NBA MVPs during their careers.
Both trophies keep their base designs – the West showing a series of rings below the ball and the East with three pillars. The silver basketballs are divided into four sections symbolizing the four steps on the way to the Finals (qualifying for playoffs and winning the first three rounds). The base of both trophies is now gold with their new names engraved, and the round-by-round results of the championship team will be added to this ring. Underneath the trophies are the names of the fifteen teams of the respective conference and the conference championship logo.
CONFERENCE FINALS MVP AWARDS
Here are your two new trophies, the NBA Eastern and Western Conference Finals MVP awards, to be presented to, you guessed it, the player picked as the most valuable to their team during each conference finals series.
The Conference Finals MVP awards are named after two stars of the 1980s; it’s the Earvin “Magic” Johnson Trophy for the Western Conference and the Larry Bird Award for the Eastern. As the league describes it, “Bird and Johnson’s bicoastal rivalry captivated fans and played a critical role in elevating the league to new heights.”
Each of the new Conference Finals MVP trophies is fourteen inches tall and weighs about five pounds. Both trophies keep the same style beneath the basketball as their respective conference championships, the rings on the Magic Johnson Trophy and the three columns on the Larry Bird. Basketball nets are below each ball, with mesh netting engraved into the sides.
“I am very honored to have my name associated with the NBA’s Eastern Conference Finals MVP Trophy,” said Larry Bird in the NBA’s press release. “I know how tough it is to get to this great milestone of the Eastern Conference Finals, and to be named the Most Valuable Player makes it even more special.”
“The NBA Conference Finals represent the last hurdle a team must face for an opportunity to make it to the big stage, the NBA Finals,” added Magic Johnson. “I’m truly honored to have my name memorialized on the Western Conference Finals Most Valuable Player Trophy. This player excels on both ends of the court, makes his teammates better and leads his team to the greatest stage in basketball.”
These new trophies will be awarded for the first time during the ongoing 2022 NBA Playoffs.