The NBA has renamed its prestigious Most Valuable Player award after Michael Jordan – widely regarded as the best basketball player to ever hit the hardwood. The NBA announced the new Jordan Trophy as part of six newly designed trophies named after legends of the league.
A 24-inch-tall bronze trophy commemorating the basketball icon features a player stepping out of a cliff and reaching for a crystal basketball. According to the NBA, the reach for the trophy “is symbolic of the MVP’s endless chase for greatness.” Other features include Jordan’s jersey number and championship number, as well as a five-sided base that is a nod to Jordan’s five league MVPs.
Mark Smith, Jordan Brand designer and retired vice president of innovation special projects at Nike, worked with Jordan on the design. In a statement, he said that making it was “the challenge of a lifetime”.
Smith said, “As we worked together on this project, it was very important to Michael that the figure not only be his likeness, but that the recipient be able to see himself in the award.” “For Michael, naming the award in his honor was recognition enough.”
One of the newer awards is the Jerry West Trophy, given to the NBA’s most clutch player. West, who was nicknamed “Mr. Clutch” for his late performance during games, is an NBA champion and a 14-time NBA All-Star. The NBA stated that the award would honor the player who “best performs for his teammates”.
The NBA’s Defensive Player of the Year Award was changed to the Hakeem Olajuwon Trophy. The Rookie of the Year Award is now the Wilt Chamberlain Trophy. The league’s sixth Man of the Year award has been named the John Havlicek Trophy. The Player of the Year winner will now receive the George Mikan Trophy.
“Our new collection of trophies celebrates some of the greatest and most influential players in NBA history,” NBA commissioner Adam Silver said in a statement. “As we recognize the league’s top performers each season, we also pay tribute to the legends who make up these prestigious awards.”
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