Michael Jordan trophy: NBA rebrands, redesigns its MVP award

Michael Jordan was on the verge of receiving his third NBA MVP award, which would make five, as then-commissioner David Stern honored him with simple but poignant words during a halftime ceremony .

“You’re the standard,” Stern said that night in 1992, “the standard of basketball excellence.”​​​​

This has never been more true.

The NBA announced Tuesday that the league’s MVP award has been renamed the Michael Jordan Trophy.Andrew Kenny/AP

The NBA MVP award has been renamed the Michael Jordan Trophy, the league announced Tuesday. Jordan won the MVP five times, so he has five trophies named after the league’s first commissioner Maurice Podoloff. But after six years of awarding Podoloff’s honor, the NBA decided it was time for a rebrand.

The Jordan Trophy stands 23.6 inches tall and weighs 23.6 pounds — a nod to his jersey number and the Chicago Bulls’ six NBA titles — but it doesn’t describe him. The president of the Charlotte Hornets approved the design to symbolize a man of excellence, but didn’t want the statue to be his own. He also declined a request for comment through the NBA.

“Anyone should be able to see that, and see themselves in it,” said Mark Smith, Jordan Brand’s longtime designer and overseer of trophy design. “They should feel the excellence of Michael Jordan and his pursuit. It has his name on it, but it’s not him. It’s everybody. It could be a shipbuilder, or it could be a teacher, or a lawyer, or a writer, look at it and say, ‘This That’s what I want to do.’

Over the past two seasons, the league has renamed almost all trophies and even added some new trophies. As part of Tuesday’s announcement, the league revealed it is launching the Jerry West Award and will honor the NBA’s key player of the year — which, like nearly every other league award, will be voted on by a media panel. NBA coaches will nominate players for pivotal awards.

Additionally, Defensive Player of the Year will now go to Hakeem Olajuwon; Rookie of the Year will go to Wilt Chamberlain; Sixth Man of the Year will now go to John Havlicek; NBA Most Improved Player will go to George · Mikan trophy.

“Our new series of trophies celebrates some of the greatest and most influential players in NBA history,” said NBA Commissioner Adam Silver. “As we honor the best players in the league each season, we also honor the legends who embody these prestigious awards.”

It became apparent last week that there were some changes to the MVP trophy when the NBA said Podoloff’s name would appear on a new award — one that would go to the team with the best regular-season record.

In addition to height and weight, the MVP trophy also has many numerical meanings related to Jordan. It has a pentagonal base in honor of his five MVP awards. The nameplate is six-sided, one representing each of his champions. The base is at a 15-degree angle; he played 15 NBA seasons.

“I’ve always had numbers and symbiosis as the key root DNA, to do something concrete and real for that person,” Smith said. “When you start putting all these things together, there’s just one person, and it becomes very unique. Not different, but very unique.”

Smith said Jordan was involved in every step of the design process. The final product was a bronze trophy depicting a player “breaking the rock to reach the ultimate rock-crystal basketball,” the league said. The trophies near the top have become more refined, meant to show how hard work can lead to something more refined, and ultimately, something great.

Smith said he was very much looking forward to being thrilled when he saw the new trophy being presented for the first time this spring.

“It’s actually the crowning achievement of a single player … and it’s exciting,” Smith said. “It’s going to be an exciting thing.”

Other trophies that have been renamed or redesigned in the last year or so include Joe Dumars (Sportsmanship), Red Auerbach (Coach of the Year), Kobe Bryant All-Star MVP Award and NBA Larry Trophy named after O’Brien Trophy winner and Bill Russell NBA Finals MVP trophy.

Added the Eastern and Western Championship trophies named after Bob Cousy and Oscar Robertson respectively, as well as the Eastern Conference Finals MVP Larry Bird Trophy and Western Conference Finals MVP Magic Johnson Trophy. The league also began awarding division championship trophies to Nat “Sweetwater” Clifton (Atlantic Division), Wayne Embry (Central Division), Earl Lloyd (Southeast Division), Willis Reed (Southwest Division), Sam Jones (Northwest Division) and Chuck Cooper (Pacific Division) area) naming).

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