NBA Unveils New Playoff Hardware, Including Conference Finals MVP
The NBA has unveiled a set of six playoff trophies that have each received a makeover, with the centerpiece being the Larry O’Brien Trophy, awarded to the League champs, which has received a roundish upgrade that shows off the basketball even more diametrically reflective.
The NBA has added two new trophies, Conference Finals MVP awards named after Magic Johnson (Western Conference) and Larry Bird (Eastern Conference). The two legends helped raise the profile in the League in the early 1980s by becoming the first superstars of the NBA that then-commissioner David Stern built the NBA around. The trophies raise a sterling silver ball, similar to the conference champion trophies.
The NBA renamed its two conference championship trophies after Bob Cousy (East) and Oscar Robertson (West). A silver basketball highlights both trophies. They are quartered into four sections representing making the playoffs, winning the first round, winning the conference semifinals, and winning the conference finals. The underside lists the teams in each conference and the conference finals logo.
The most significant change for the L-O-B trophy where that the award now sits on a pair of circular stacks. The top disc lists the team names of the first 75 NBA champions. The title of each NBA champion will be written on the bottom disc of each new trophy, ensuring that each team will receive a one-of-kind trophy bearing its name.
The disc has enough space to have the next 25 champs leading up to the League’s 100th anniversary season. The trophy has been shifted forward to symbolize the League looking ahead to its future.
The Bill Russell Trophy, given to the Finals MVP, also changed. The trophy is gold vermeil to match the L-O-B and will feature similar masking to reveal the net and basketball channels.
“Symbolically, the trophy represents the end of a journey that these athletes go on, and I felt the symbols to celebrate the players had been under-celebrated,” Vince Solomon, who collaborated with trophy manufacturer Tiffany & Co to design the six League trophies, said. “It was very exciting and unprecedented to be able to push the boundaries and (figure out) what materials need to be and don’t need to be associated with it and what we needed to do to create a cohesive collection of trophies. Here we have every trophy having a relationship with the other one.
“A lot of it served as inspiration for what this next era would look like. One of the main rules was using the past to infuse what the future would look like. Using the history to set the table for the next era.”