The NBA’s Most Valuable Player trophy has a new name: Michael Jordan’s.
Beginning this season, the MVP will receive the Michael Jordan Trophy, the league announced Tuesday. Jordan won five MVP awards with the Chicago Bulls, tied for second with Bill Russell behind Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s six.
The MVP previously won the Maurice Podoloff Trophy, named in honor of the NBA’s first president. The league announced a week ago that a new Maurice Podoloff Trophy will go to the team with the best regular-season record.
The MVP trophy honors Jordan’s illustrious career, which included six NBA championships during his 13 seasons with the Bulls. Widely considered the greatest player in league history, Jordan received 11 All-NBA honors and 14 All-Star selections and won 10 scoring titles. In addition to the five MVP awards, he was named NBA Finals MVP six times, Defensive Player of the Year in 1988 and Rookie of the Year in 1985.
The new trophy was designed in collaboration with Jordan by Mark Smith, the former vice president of special projects for Nike and a designer for the Jordan Brand. The sculpture will not be modeled after Jordan himself; instead, it depicts an innominate player emerging from a rock to reach up and cradle a crystal basketball.
“Sculpting Michael’s vision of his own pursuit of athletic achievement into this award has been the opportunity and challenge of a lifetime,” Smith said in a statement.
“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.”
While Jordan requested the trophy not depict himself, it will include elements that nod to his career — a height of 23.6 inches, weight of 23.6 pounds and 23-point basketball to reference his two jersey numbers (23 and 6 for the U.S. Olympic team); a five-sided base to reference his MVP awards; a six-sided badge for his NBA championships; and a 15-degree angle at the base to reference his 15-year career, including two seasons with the Washington Wizards.
As part of Tuesday’s announcement, the league revealed that The Jerry West Award is being introduced and will be given to the NBA Clutch Player of the Year — which, like almost all other league awards, will be voted on by a media panel. NBA coaches will nominate players for the clutch award.
Also, the Defensive Player of the Year will now receive The Hakeem Olajuwon Trophy; the Rookie of the Year will receive The Wilt Chamberlain Trophy; the Sixth Man of the Year will now receive The John Havlicek Trophy; and the NBA’s Most Improved Player will receive The George Mikan Trophy.