As reported this week, the NBA is updating the Larry O'Brien trophy as part of a massive and exciting re-design of the classic awards. But the NBA is also adding some entirely new stuff to the lineup. Starting this year, for example, players can earn the Conference Finals MVP, which will reward the best performers in the East and West with some beautiful hardware.
The trophies will reportedly be named after Larry Bird and Magic Johnson:
In addition to the redesigns, the league has also introduced two new awards this season. The most valuable player of the Eastern Conference Finals will be awarded the Larry Bird Trophy, and the most valuable player of the Western Conference Finals will be awarded the Magic Johnson trophy. The awards are fittingly named after the pair of players who, between them, participated in every single NBA Finals held during the 1980s.
Magic and Bird played in every Finals series during the 1980s, and are widely recognized and celebrated today for the way they dominated the league at the time.
After hearing the news for himself, Bird couldn't help but give a nod to his former NBA rival.
"I wish I could one of them Magic Johnson trophies, that'd be the highlight of my career"
Magic Johnson also had a humbling response:
“The NBA 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. “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.”
Needless to say, it's an exciting time for NBA basketball. Besides talent being at an all-time high, the league is continuing to adapt and perfect its formula to maximize excitement and draw in new viewers. The new awards are just the latest attempt to make things more interesting, and you'd be hard-pressed to find any two players more deserving of the honor.