NEW YORK — The NBA has renamed its coveted most valuable player award after Michael Jordan – widely considered to be the best basketball player to ever hit the hardwood. The NBA announced the new Jordan trophy as part of six newly designed trophies named after the league's legends.
The 24-inch tall bronze trophy commemorating the basketball icon features a player breaking out of a rock and reaching for a crystal basketball. According to the NBA, the trophy's reach "symbolizes an MVP's endless chase for greatness." Among the other features include Jordan's jersey number and number of championships, as well as a five-sided base that's a nod to Jordan's five league MVPs.
Mark Smith, Jordan Brand designer and retired vice president of innovation special projects at Nike, worked with Jordan on the design. In a statement, he said creating it was a "challenge of a lifetime."
"As we worked together on this project, it was very important to Michael that the figure not be a likeness of him, but instead that the recipient should be able to see himself in the award," Smith said. "For Michael, naming the award in his honor was recognition enough."
One of the new awards is the Jerry West trophy, given to the NBA's most clutch player. West, who was nicknamed "Mr. Clutch" for performing well late during games, is an NBA champion and 14-time NBA all-star. The award will honor the player who "best comes through for his teammates in the clutch," the NBA said.
The NBA's defensive player of the year award was changed to the Hakeem Olajuwon trophy. The rookie of the year award is now the Wilt Chamberlain trophy. The league's sixth man of the year award has been named the John Havlicek trophy. The most improved player of the year winner will now receive the George Mikan trophy.
"Our new collection of trophies celebrates some of the greatest and most impactful players in the history of the NBA," NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said in a statement. "As we recognize the league's top performers each season, we also pay tribute to the legends who embody these prestigious awards."