As part of its 75th-anniversary season, the NBA has made a number of style and design changes to be implemented moving forward.
On Thursday, May 12, with the 2022 NBA Playoffs in full swing, the league unveiled a lineup of reimagined trophies for the NBA postseason, including the introduction of two all-new trophies that will be awarded at the conclusion of the Conference Finals.
The NBA today unveiled a lineup of reimagined trophies for the NBA postseason, including an evolution of the Larry O’Brien Trophy, awarded annually to the NBA champions.
— NBA (@NBA) May 12, 2022
In addition to revamped Conference Championship trophies, which will now be known as The Bob Cousy Trophy (East) and The Oscar Robertson Trophy (West), the league introduced two new trophies that will be awarded to the player that is named MVP of the Eastern and Western Conference Finals.
Larry Bird and Earvin “Magic” Johnson helped define the modern NBA with their individual brilliance and team success in the 1980s. The two legends are honored as the namesakes for the trophies that will now be awarded each year to the Eastern and Western Conference Finals MVPs. pic.twitter.com/XW5ptAVtYX
— NBA Communications (@NBAPR) May 12, 2022
The player that is named Eastern Conference Finals MVP will win The Larry Bird Trophy while the player that is named Western Conference Finals MVP will win The Earvin “Magic” Johnson Trophy. The titles are fitting, as they align with Bird’s dominance of the Eastern Conference as a member of the Celtics and Johnson’s dominance of the Western Conference as a member of the Lakers.
In addition to league MVP, All-NBA and Finals MVP honors, players can now add another prestigious accolade to their resumes, which, in turn, could have a legacy-altering impact moving forward.
What new Conference Finals MVP trophies mean for players
Save for the NBA Finals, it doesn’t get any bigger than the Conference Finals, but somehow, accolades from that round are often minimized. Now that players will be given a tangible representation of their achievements on that stage, the accomplishments can garner the respect that they deserve.
In a time where players’ resumes are often called into question, each coming year will now provide two more honors that are up for grabs.
As official NBA awards, these honors will likely be recognized on platforms such as Basketball-Reference, which maintains a database of all award winners and provides a handy tool in the top right corner of each player’s profile that outlines their NBA achievements.
Winning an NBA title is the ultimate prize, but the NBA’s introduction of Conference Finals MVP trophies is a celebration of just how hard it is to actually make it to the NBA Finals. Moving forward, players can add “Conference Finals MVP” to a resume that also includes All-Star and all-league honors, which will better put their career achievements into perspective.
As recent as last year, Khris Middleton and Devin Booker are two prime examples of players that could have taken home Conference Finals MVP honors, adding to resumes that already included multiple All-Star selections.
From this point forward, legacy discussions have a new dynamic to take into consideration. Happy debating.