The NBA is introducing a pair of new MVP awards. According to Kirk Goldsberry of ESPN, the league has decided to crown the best player in the Eastern and Western Conference Finals every year with a pair of trophies named after Boston Celtics legend Larry Bird and Los Angeles Lakers icon Magic Johnson.
“Larry and Magic defining the ’80s and having that bicoastal relationship representing their conferences like no other two people have,” NBA head of on-court brand and partnerships Christopher Arena told ESPN. “We just thought it was a perfect symmetry as you percolate up to the NBA Finals and you potentially win that Bill Russell Trophy, and obviously the winningest player we have in our history.”
The league announced the news on its Twitter account and unveiled both of the trophies.
Larry Bird and Earvin “Magic” Johnson helped define the modern NBA with their individual brilliance and team success in the 1980s. The two NBA legends are honored as the namesakes for the trophies that will now be awarded each year to the Eastern & Western Conference Finals MVPs. pic.twitter.com/9G5oiCvEfV
— NBA (@NBA) May 12, 2022
In a video posted to an NBA social media account, Bird was informed of the name change, and made it a point to crack a joke about winning the award named after his longtime friend and rival.
Larry Bird learns about the new Larry Bird Trophy, awarded to the Eastern Conference Finals MVP, from NBA Deputy Commissioner and Chief Operating Officer, Mark Tatum. pic.twitter.com/CTdvhPI20y
— NBA History (@NBAHistory) May 12, 2022
Additionally, the league decided to name its two conference championship trophies after a separate pair of legendary players, as the Eastern Conference championship trophy will be named after Celtics great Bob Cousy and the Western Conference championship trophy will be named after the great Oscar Robertson.