NBA MVP trophy renamed after Bulls icon Michael Jordan
CHICAGO - The NBA announced Tuesday it is rebranding its most valuable player trophy after Chicago Bulls legend Michael Jordan.
The change is one of six newly designed trophies named after league legends.
Jordan is one of those most storied players in NBA history. He won six NBA championships with the Bulls and garnered six Finals MVP Awards in the process.
Jordan was named NBA MVP five times during his career.
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The new bronze statue stands 23.6 inches tall and weighs 23.6 pounds, an homage to Jordan's iconic number 23.
The MVP trophy has many levels of numerical significance related to Jordan, besides its height and weight. It has a five-sided base, a tribute to his five MVP awards. The name badge is six-sided, one for each of his championships. The base is shaped at a 15-degree angle; he played 15 NBA seasons.
"I’m always going to numbers and symbiology as key root DNA to make something specific and authentic for that person," said Mark Smith, a longtime designer at Jordan Brand and the person who oversaw the trophy’s design. "When you start putting all these things together, there’s only one person and it becomes very unique. Not different, but very unique."
Jordan was involved at every step of the design process, Smith said. The final product was a bronze trophy depicting a player "breaking out of a rock to reach for the ultimate rock — a crystal basketball," the league said. The trophy becomes more refined closer to the top, meant to show how hard work leads to something more polished and finally something great.
Smith said he fully expects to be emotional when he sees the new trophy awarded for the first time this spring.
"This is actually the highest achievement for a single player ... and it’s mind-blowing," Smith said. "It’ll be a mind-blower."
A new award was also added in the announcement, the Kia NBA Clutch Player of Year award, which is named after all-time great Jerry West.
Other redesigned trophies include:
- The Kia NBA Defensive Player of the Year being named The Hakeem Olajuwon Trophy
- The Kia NBA Rookie of the Year being named The Wilt Chamberlain Trophy
- The Kia NBA Sixth Man of the Year being named The John Havlicek Trophy
- The Kia NBA Most Improved Player of the Year being named The George Mikan Trophy
The Associated Press contributed to this report.