The NBA announced the addition of two new playoff trophies named for legends of the league in its 75th anniversary season. The hardware will be awarded annually to the MVP of each conference finals series.
The Eastern and Western Conference recipients will receive the Larry Bird and Magic Johnson trophies, respectively. The rivalry between Bird’s Boston Celtics and Johnson’s Los Angeles Lakers, which combined to win eight championships during the 1980s, raised the league’s profile both domestically and abroad.
“I am very honored to have my name associated with the NBA’s Eastern Conference Finals MVP Trophy,” Bird, who reached eight conference finals from 1980-88, said in a news release. “I know how tough it is to get to this great milestone … and to be named the Most Valuable Player makes it even more special.”
“The conference finals represent the last hurdle a team must face for an opportunity to make it to the big stage, the NBA Finals,” said Johnson, who played in 10 conference finals. “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.”
The NBA’s traditional Eastern and Western Conference championship trophies have been renamed for Bob Cousy and Oscar Robertson. Cousy’s Celtics appeared in 10 Eastern Conference finals during his 13-year tenure. Robertson played in three Western Conference finals with the Milwaukee Bucks from 1971-74.
Artist Victor Solomon, along with Tiffany & Co., also made slight changes to the NBA’s existing Larry O’Brien and Bill Russell trophies, annually awarded to the league champion and Finals MVP, respectively.
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