NEW YORK – The National Basketball Association (NBA) today unveiled six newly designed trophies named after NBA legends, which will be presented to the end-of-season Kia Performance Award winners. Headlined by The Michael Jordan Trophy, which will be awarded to the Kia NBA Most Valuable Player, the lineup of reimagined trophies honors the league pioneers who helped define the standards of excellence that these trophies represent.
“Our new collection of trophies celebrates some of the greatest and most impactful players in the history of the NBA,” said NBA Commissioner Adam Silver. “As we recognize the league’s top performers each season, we also pay tribute to the legends who embody these prestigious awards.”
The league’s MVP will now be awarded with The Michael Jordan Trophy, bearing the name of the NBA legend widely regarded as one of the greatest players of all time. During his illustrious career, Jordan was named MVP five times. The Hall of Famer also earned six NBA championships, six NBA Finals MVP Awards, 11 All-NBA Team selections, 14 NBA All-Star selections, three NBA All-Star Game MVP Awards, 10 scoring titles, an NBA Defensive Player of the Year Award, an NBA Rookie of the Year Award and selections to the NBA’s 50th and 75th Anniversary Teams.
Mark Smith, retired VP of Innovation Special Projects at Nike, Inc., and Jordan Brand designer, worked in creative partnership with Jordan to design the new trophy, which symbolizes an NBA player’s journey to winning an MVP. Smith has collaborated with Jordan on countless projects over the past two decades. Artist Victor Solomon will manufacture the trophy on a yearly basis.
The bronze trophy features a player breaking out of a rock to reach for the ultimate rock – a crystal basketball. From the bottom to its top, the patina of the trophy grows more burnished – “raw to refined” – signifying the MVP’s hard work and progression from entering the league to achieving the NBA’s greatest individual honor. The trophy’s reach symbolizes an MVP’s endless chase for greatness.
Additionally included throughout are subtle nods that pay tribute to the trophy’s namesake:
- The trophy stands 23.6 inches tall and weighs 23.6 pounds, representing Jordan’s jersey number (23) and number of NBA championships (6).
- Its five-sided base is a nod to Jordan’s five league MVPs.
- The namesake badge is six-sided, a nod to Jordan’s six NBA championships.
- The 15-degree angle of the base is a nod to Jordan’s 15-season career.
- The crystal basketball consists of 23 points, a nod to Jordan’s jersey number.
- The crystal basketball measures 1.23 inches in diameter, in reference to the singularity of the MVP and Jordan’s standout career.
“I’m incredibly honored to have created the NBA’s MVP trophy in partnership with Michael Jordan,” said Smith. “Sculpting Michael’s vision of his own pursuit of athletic achievement into this award has been the opportunity and 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. For Michael, naming the award in his honor was recognition enough.”
THE JERRY WEST TROPHY – Awarded to the Kia NBA Clutch Player of the Year:The NBA will introduce a new Kia Performance Award at the end of the 2022-23 season, the Kia NBA Clutch Player of the Year, with its recipient receiving The Jerry West Trophy.
Voted on by a media panel based on nominations from NBA head coaches, the award will honor the NBA player who best comes through for his teammates in the clutch.
Legendary Los Angeles Lakers broadcaster Chick Hearn gave West the nickname “Mr. Clutch” for his extraordinary shooting at the end of close games. West is an NBA champion, 14-time NBA All-Star, NBA Finals MVP, NBA All-Star Game MVP, 12-time All-NBA Team selection and a member of the 35th, 50th and 75th NBA Anniversary Teams. During the 1971-72 season, West led the Lakers to a record 33 consecutive regular-season victories and an NBA championship.
The trophy features an NBA player shooting a jump shot, modeled after West’s perfect form.
“There are few greater thrills as a basketball player than coming through for your teammates and fans when they need it most,” said West, Special Advisor, LA Clippers. “This new trophy will be awarded to the player who best delivers in those moments.”
The Jerry West Trophy, as well as the following newly designed trophies awarded to the Kia Performance Award winners, were designed in collaboration with Solomon. The trophies all feature an embedment inside a 15-inch crystal net structure. The front face is flat to allow for a direct line of sight to the icon, and the etching of the award and recipient is detailed at the bottom.
“While working alongside the NBA to reimagine the league’s trophy offerings, our singular goal was to create a cohesive collection of honors worthy of the athletes who raise them,” said Solomon. “These trophies celebrate the hard work of the players who reach the pinnacle of individual excellence while honoring the NBA legends who have defined that greatness.”
THE HAKEEM OLAJUWON TROPHY – Awarded to the Kia NBA Defensive Player of the Year:Defensive dominance helped define Hakeem Olajuwon’s Hall of Fame career. A two-time NBA Defensive Player of the Year and nine-time NBA All-Defensive Team selection, Olajuwon is the league’s all-time leader in blocked shots and ranks ninth in steals. He is also a two-time NBA champion, 12-time NBA All-Star, league MVP, two-time NBA Finals MVP, 12-time All-NBA Team selection and a member of the NBA’s 50th and 75th Anniversary Teams.
The trophy features a player in a classic defensive stance with one hand up and one down, knees bent and ready to move.
“I am honored to have the opportunity to celebrate the league’s best defensive player each year,” said Olajuwon. “Great basketball teams are defined by their ability to defend, with every great team connected by an elite defensive anchor.”
Wilt Chamberlain’s 1959-60 season is unmatched for an NBA rookie. Chamberlain averaged 37.6 points and 27.0 rebounds in 46.4 minutes per game for the Philadelphia Warriors, winning both the Rookie of the Year and MVP awards. His career highlights include two NBA championships, 13 NBA All-Star selections, four league MVPs, 10 All-NBA Team selections, an NBA Finals MVP and inclusion on the league’s 35th, 50th and 75th Anniversary Teams.
The trophy features a player palming two basketballs at once.
“We are humbled and thankful that the NBA has immortalized Wilt’s greatness with this honor,” said Barbara Chamberlain Lewis, Wilt’s sister, and the Chamberlain family. “Wilt rewrote nearly every NBA record throughout his illustrious career, which tipped off with an incredible rookie season that redefined what was possible and set a ceiling as high as he stood for all rookies who have followed.”
THE JOHN HAVLICEK TROPHY – Awarded to the Kia NBA Sixth Man of the Year:John Havlicek starred in his role during his Hall of Fame career, excelling off the bench like no player before him. Havlicek came off the bench for the first seven seasons of his career and was an All-Star in four of those seasons. His career highlights include eight NBA championships, 13 NBA All-Star selections, 11 All-NBA Team selections, an NBA Finals MVP, eight NBA All-Defensive Team selections and inclusion on the league’s 35th, 50th and 75th Anniversary Teams.
The trophy features a player elevated and shooting a running jumper, symbolic of the boost provided by the player to his team.
“We are honored that the NBA recognized John’s career achievements with this award,” said Beth Havlicek, John’s wife, and the Havlicek family. “John defined what it means to be the ultimate sixth man, with his leadership and stellar play serving as the utmost example of effectively starring in a role for the betterment of the team.”
THE GEORGE MIKAN TROPHY – Awarded to the Kia NBA Most Improved Player:A layup and footwork exercise known as the “Mikan Drill” has been used for decades by players at all levels to improve their game. It is named for George Mikan, who mastered the fundamentals as the NBA’s first dominant big man. His Hall of Fame career included five NBA championships in seven seasons, four NBA All-Star selections, an NBA All-Star Game MVP, six selections to the All-NBA Team and inclusion on the NBA’s 25th, 35th, 50th and 75th Anniversary Teams.
“We are grateful that the NBA has recognized George’s career achievements with this honor,” said Mike Mikan, son of George Mikan #99, and the Mikan family. “George is one of the best NBA players ever, but perhaps his greatest legacy is the one he has passed down to others through his legendary ‘Mikan Drill,’ providing generations of basketball players around the world with the tools to improve their game.”
Today’s announcement builds on Kia America’s support of the NBA’s performance award platform for the past 15 seasons.