It is no coincidence that the NBA celebrates its 75th anniversary in the same year that it unveils a new collection of trophies, awards, and plaques that honor legendary players like Larry Bird, Earvin “Magic” Johnson, Bob Cousy, and Oscar Robertson.
One winner of the Larry Bird Eastern Conference Finals MVP Award will receive the award while another winner will win the Earvin Johnson Western Conference Finals MVP Award.
Johnson and Bird, both Basketball Hall of Famers who entered the league in 1979, and whose rivalry helped the NBA flourish over many decades, are the logical namesakes of the league's redesigned awards of excellence for each conference.
“Larry and Magic defining the '80s and having that bicoastal relationship representing their conferences like no other two people have,” said Christopher Arena, who is the NBA's head of on-court & brand partnerships. “We thought it was a perfect synergy as you percolate up until the NBA Finals where you can win the Bill Russell trophy. This is obviously the winningest player in our history.”
Cousy, a point-guard who won six NBA championships, will be the new Eastern Conference Championship Trophy. Boston Celtics. Robertson was a point guard who won 1971 NBA championship with the Western Conference Championship Trophy. Milwaukee Bucks.
Cousy and Robertson are both being honored for their contributions on the court as well as the positive impact they had as presidents of the National Basketball Players Association. Each of the Eastern and Western Conference champions trophies raise a silver ball, just like the original 2001 trophies.
“We researched potential namesakes and we settled on four of them.” [former players]Arena stated, “for what we thought were some pretty obvious reasons.”
Newly named trophies aren't the only changes the league has introduced this postseason, as redesigns are also appearing on trophies thanks to an ongoing collaboration with Los Angeles-based designer Victor Solomon, Tiffany & Co. and the league.
The Larry O'Brien NBA Championship trophy will be getting a revamp. This trophy was introduced in 1977 and was named O'Brien in 1984. New features include a circular base, which will include the names of all NBA champions. Modifications to the appearance and placement of the basketball on the top of trophy will be included.
A similar update has been done to the Bill Russell Finals MVP Award Trophy. The silhouettes of Finals trophies will not be altered too much, but both will have updated appearances in preparation for this year's championship series which begins as early as May 15.
In honor of the awards, the league introduced new trophies earlier in this season. Kobe BryantAnd Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.