NEW YORK ( Associated Press) — The NBA champion trophy has a new look, and the league will honor some categories for the first time during these playoffs.
The league unveiled a slightly redesigned Larry O’Brien Trophy on Thursday, in addition to previously announced changes to the Bill Russell Trophy for NBA Finals MVP and redesigned trophies for conference champions.
And four of basketball’s legends will now see their names in the league’s showcases.
The trophy for the Eastern Conference champion has been renamed after Bob Cousy, while the trophy for the Western Conference champion will be named Oscar Robertson. And for the first time, there will be a conference finals MVP award: the East will receive the Larry Bird trophy and the West will hoist the Magic Johnson trophy.
“The NBA conference finals represent the last hurdle a team must overcome to have a chance to make it to the biggest stage, the NBA Finals,” Johnson said. “I am truly honored to have my name remembered in the Most Valuable Player Trophy of the Western Conference finals.”
The most obvious change is the Larry O’Brien trophy for the NBA champion team. The ball now tilts in a different direction, the net is much more visible, and the base is round — two disks stacked on top of each other, the first with the names of the previous champions and the second with the names of the teams that won the title, starting this year.
The trophies for the most valuable players in the conference finals that will be awarded for the first time next month are similar to the Bill Russell trophy, which also has a slightly different look. And the trophies presented to the Eastern and Western champions have new looks and new names: the Oscar Robertson Trophy is for the Western champion, the Bob Cousy Trophy for the Eastern.