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'The Michael Jordan Trophy' for MVP Headlines 6 Redesigned Trophies for NBA Awards

Tyler Conway@@jtylerconwayFeatured Columnist IVDecember 13, 2022

In this photo provided by Andrew Kenney/NBA, The Michael Jordan Trophy is displayed in Los Angeles, Dec. 7, 2022. The NBA unveiled the new trophy on Tuesday, Dec. 13, 2022, which will be given to the basketball league's Most Valuable Player starting with this season. (Andrew Kenney/NBA via AP)
Andrew Kenney/NBA via AP

The NBA continued the revamping of its postseason awards Tuesday, announcing the renaming of individual trophies after legends and introducing the NBA Clutch Player of the Year award.

The NBA MVP has been renamed the Michael Jordan Award, and its redesign features a 23.6-inch bronze silhouette of His Airness. The trophy also weighs in at 23.6 pounds as a nod to Jordan's number during his playing career (23) and championships won (six).

NBA @NBA

Introducing six new trophies for the Kia Performance Award Winners, honoring NBA Legends Wilt Chamberlain, John Havlicek, Michael Jordan, George Mikan, Hakeem Olajuwon and Jerry West, designed by Victor Solomon.

Chicago Bulls @chicagobulls

The Michael Jordan Trophy 🐐<br><br>The NBA's MVP will now be awarded with The Michael Jordan Trophy, bearing the name of the greatest player of all time.<br><br>MJ was a 5x MVP in his career 🏆 <a href="https://t.co/D16mCU2Uez">pic.twitter.com/D16mCU2Uez</a>

"Our new collection of trophies celebrates some of the greatest and most impactful players in the history of the NBA," NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said. "As we recognize the league's top performers each season, we also pay tribute to the legends who embody these prestigious awards."

Five other NBA legends were also honored in the revamp, which also features a redesign of those trophies:

  • Defensive Player of the Year: The Hakeem Olajuwon Trophy
  • Rookie of the Year: The Wilt Chamberlain Trophy
  • Sixth Man of the Year: The John Havlicek Trophy
  • Most Improved Player: The George Mikan Trophy
  • Clutch Player of the Year: The Jerry West Trophy
Houston Rockets @HoustonRockets

The NBA announced that the Defensive Player of the Year award has been renamed The Hakeem Olajuwon Trophy!<br> <br>An honor of eternity. <br> <br>Congrats, Dream! 👏 <a href="https://t.co/T4So2YHQVk">pic.twitter.com/T4So2YHQVk</a>

Jordan won the MVP award five times during his NBA career, tied with Bill Russell for second on the all-time list. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar owns the all-time record with six MVPs.

Olajuwon is one of just three players in league history (Jordan, Giannis Antetokounmpo) to win the MVP and Defensive Player of the Year in the same season. Perhaps the greatest defensive center to ever grace the hardwood, the Houston Rockets legend won the DPOY in back-to-back seasons in 1992-93 and 1993-94.

"I am honored to have the opportunity to celebrate the league's best defensive player each year," said Olajuwon. "Great basketball teams are defined by their ability to defend, with every great team connected by an elite defensive anchor."

Chamberlain was the first player in NBA history to win the Rookie of the Year and MVP in the same season, pulling off the feat in 1959-60. Wes Unseld is the only other player to pull off the feat.

Havlicek is the greatest Sixth Man the sport has ever seen, revolutionizing the role during his time with the Boston Celtics. While no yearly award existed until 1982-83, Havlicek is widely credited with bringing the concept of a sixth man to the forefront. He made four All-Star appearances as a sixth man before finally joining the Celtics' starting lineup during the franchise's historic run in the 1960s and 1970s.

The Clutch Player of the Year is an interesting wrinkle to awards season that is sure to spark plenty of debate. The idea of being "clutch" has always been subjective—as anyone who has watched daytime sports television can attest—but there's no one who would deny the greatness of West, who earned the nickname "Mr. Clutch" during his NBA career.

"There are few greater thrills as a basketball player than coming through for your teammates and fans when they need it most," West said. "This new trophy will be awarded to the player who best delivers in those moments."

Bill Russell was the first NBA legend to have a trophy named in his honor, as the Finals MVP was named after him in 2009. The NBA added Kobe Bryant's name to the All-Star Game MVP following his death in 2020.

Earlier this year, the league revamped several trophies, naming the Eastern and Western Conference trophies after Bob Cousy and Oscar Robertson, respectively, and adding several divisional awards that honor legends.