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Larry O'Brien Championship Trophy
Awarded for winner of the NBA Finals
Presented by NBA
First awarded 1977 (as Walter A. Brown Trophy)
1984 (as Larry O'Brien Championship Trophy)
Currently held by Los Angeles Lakers
Official Website NBA.com

The Larry O'Brien NBA Championship Trophy is a trophy awarded to the National Basketball Association (NBA) team that wins the NBA Finals at the conclusion of every NBA season.

The current trophy was created in 1977[1] replacing its predecessor, the Walter A. Brown Trophy. The name of the new trophy design remained the same until the 1984 NBA Finals, when it was renamed in honor of the former NBA commissioner Larry O'Brien, who served from 1975 to 1983. Before joining the NBA, O'Brien was the United States Postmaster General under President Lyndon B. Johnson from 1965 to 1968.[2]

A black man with sunglasses on is holding a trophy at a parade A black man is holding a trophy over his head while standing in a bus
The O'Brien trophy is a prominent feature of a championship parade.

Description

The trophy, made of 14.5 pounds of sterling silver and vermeil with a 24 karat gold overlay, stands two feet tall. It is designed to look like a basketball about to enter a net. The basketball itself is nine inches in diameter, about the same size as a NBA regulation ball. Valued at $13,500, the trophy is manufactured by the Tiffany & Co. Silver Shop every year. The winning team maintains permanent possession of the trophy. The year and team names are engraved on the trophies, and are often prominently displayed in the team's arena.[3][4][5]

Promotion

The O'Brien trophy displayed for the 2005 NBA Legends Tour in the New York City NBA Store

Although the Larry O'Brien Trophy has often been compared with the National Hockey League's (NHL) Stanley Cup, it has never been as identifiable as the NHL trophy.[6] To reduce this discrepancy, the NBA has been actively promoting the O'Brien Trophy in recent years to generate more recognition and an iconic status for the trophy.[7] After the Detroit Pistons won the NBA Finals in 2004, the trophy was toured around the state of Michigan, marking the first time the trophy toured around the state of the winning team.[8] In 2005, the NBA Legends Tour was launched in New York City. As part of the tour, the O’Brien Trophy was showcased in various cities—including those that were hosting the playoffs—for fans' autograph and photo sessions. It was escorted by many former players, including Julius Erving, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Bill Russell.[5][7] In May 2007, the NBA unveiled the NBA Headquarters on Second Life, an Internet-based virtual reality environment. With this launch, fans could take pictures with the championship trophy in the virtual Toyota Larry O'Brien Trophy Room.[9] In August, the trophy traveled to Hong Kong for the first time as part of the NBA Madness Asia Tour.[10]

Winners

Four trophies on display behind a glassed wall
The San Antonio Spurs display their four Larry O'Brien Trophies from 1999, 2003, 2005 & 2007 at the AT&T Center

The winning team of the NBA Finals receives the O'Brien Trophy. The Boston Celtics were the first winner of the trophy in 1984 after defeating the Los Angeles Lakers four games to three.[11] The Los Angeles Lakers have won the trophy seven times; the Chicago Bulls have won it six times and the San Antonio Spurs have won it four times. [12]

References

  1. ^ "O'Brien acknowledges problem". The Star-News. May 16, 1977. http://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=1384&dat=19770516&id=FG4WAAAAIBAJ&sjid=KBMEAAAAIBAJ&pg=2411,3152279. Retrieved June 17, 2009.  
  2. ^ "December 2004: Picture This". National Archives and Records Administration. http://www.archives.gov/calendar/features/2004/december/. Retrieved October 17, 2008.  
  3. ^ "The trophies". St. Petersburg Times. April 10, 2003. http://www.sptimes.com/2003/04/10/Lightning/The_trophies.shtml. Retrieved July 26, 2008.  
  4. ^ "Larry O'Brien Championship Trophy". NBA.com/Lakers. Turner Sports Interactive, Inc. http://www.nba.com/lakers/news/trophy_020712.html. Retrieved July 26, 2008.  
  5. ^ a b "NBA Legends Launch 2005 NBA Legends Tour: Destination Finals". NBA.com. Turner Sports Interactive, Inc. http://www.nba.com/news/legendstour_050420.html. Retrieved July 26, 2008.  
  6. ^ Sandomir, Richard (June 9, 2004). "This Trophy Is Fickle, And Her Name Is Larry". The New York Times. http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9D06E0D81630F93AA35755C0A9629C8B63. Retrieved October 19, 2008.  
  7. ^ a b "NBA championship trophy going on tour". The China Daily. April 15, 2004. http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/english/doc/2004-04/15/content_323502.htm. Retrieved October 17, 2008.  
  8. ^ Bremmer, Daniel (September 27, 2004). "The Trophy Tour". The Michigan Daily. http://www.michigandaily.com/content/trophy-tour. Retrieved October 17, 2008.  
  9. ^ "NBA Headquarters Unveiled in Second Life". Business Wire. May 1, 2007. http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m0EIN/is_2007_May_1/ai_n27220810. Retrieved October 17, 2008.  
  10. ^ "DHL delivers the NBA Championship Trophy to "NBA Madness" in Hong Kong". DHL. August 17, 2007. http://www.dhl.com.hk/publish/hk/en/press/Release_HK/2007/17_08_2007.high.html. Retrieved October 17, 2008.  
  11. ^ "Celtics Win First Bird-Magic Finals Showdown". NBA.com. Turner Sports Interactive, Inc. http://www.nba.com/history/finals/19831984.html. Retrieved October 26, 2008.  
  12. ^ "NBA Finals: All-Time Champions". NBA.com. Turner Sports Interactive, Inc. http://www.nba.com/history/finals/champions.html. Retrieved October 26, 2008.  
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