Basketball Wiki
Advertisement
Larry O'Brien Championship Trophy
Larry O'Brien trophy.jpg
Awarded for Winning the NBA Finals
Presented by NBA
First award 1977 (Portland Trail Blazers)
Most recent 2021 (Milwaukee Bucks)
Official website NBA.com

The Larry O'Brien NBA Championship Trophy is the championship trophy awarded annually by the National Basketball Association (NBA) to the winner of the NBA Finals. The name of the trophy used to be the Walter A. Brown Trophy until 1984.

The current design, depicting a basketball over a hoop and basket, was first awarded in 1977 still under its original name, which was changed in honor of former NBA commissioner Larry O'Brien who served from 1975 to 1984. Before joining the NBA, O'Brien was the United States Postmaster General under President Lyndon B. Johnson from 1965 to 1968.

History

A new trophy was created for the 1977 NBA Finals. The inaugural winners were the Portland Trail Blazers, who defeated Philadelphia 76ers in six games to win their first NBA championship in franchise history. Unlike the original championship trophy, the new trophy was given permanently to the winning team and a new one was made every year, similar to both the Philip F. Anschutz Trophy, awarded annually to the winning team in the MLS Cup, and the Commissioner's Trophy, awarded annually to the winning team of Major League Baseball's World Series. The 1982-83 Philadelphia 76ers were the last team to win the Brown Trophy, sweeping the defending NBA champion Los Angeles Lakers in 1983.

In 1984, the trophy was renamed to the Larry O'Brien Championship Trophy, in honor of Larry O'Brien, who served as NBA commissioner from 1975 to 1984. The Boston Celtics were the inaugural winners of the renamed trophy, defeating the Los Angeles Lakers in seven games in the 1984 NBA Finals to win their 15th NBA championship.

The current trophy is made out of 15.5 pounds (7 kg) of sterling silver and vermeil with a 24 karat gold overlay and stands 2 feet (61 cm) tall. It is designed to look like a basketball about to enter a net. The year and team names are engraved on the trophies, which are often prominently displayed in the winning team's arena.

Description

The trophy is two feet tall and is made of 15.5 pounds of sterling silver and vermeil with a 24 karat gold overlay. The trophy is manufactured by Tiffany & Co. The championship team maintains permanent possession of the trophy (although one exception exists, as described below). The year and winning team names are engraved on the trophies, and are often prominently displayed in the winning team's arena.

After the sale of the Houston Rockets from Leslie Alexander to Tilman Fertitta in late 2017, Alexander maintained the ownership of the team's 1993-94 and 1994-95 trophies as mementos of his ownership. Thus, the team commissioned Tiffany to create replica versions of both Larry O'Brien trophies (and replacing the 1993-94 trophy, which was unexpectedly dropped and dented by reserve center Richard Petruška during the celebration), which were publicly unveiled on September 20, 2018.

Promotion

Although the Larry O'Brien Trophy has been compared with the National Hockey League's (NHL) Stanley Cup, it has never been as prominent as the NHL trophy. 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. The trophy appeared on past logos for the NBA Finals. After the Detroit Pistons won the NBA Finals by defeating the Los Angeles Lakers in five games in the 2004 NBA Finals, the trophy was toured around the state of Michigan, marking the first time the trophy toured around the state of the winning team. 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. 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. In August, the trophy traveled to Hong Kong for the first time as part of the NBA Madness Asia Tour.

By franchise

This table lists the teams that have won the Larry O' Brien Championship Trophy since it was introduced in 1977. It includes trophies awarded before it was renamed in 1984.

Team Trophies NBA Finals Champions
Los Angeles Lakers 11 1980, 1982, 1985, 1987, 1988, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2009, 2010, 2020
Chicago Bulls 6 1991, 1992, 1993, 1996, 1997, 1998
San Antonio Spurs 5 1999, 2003, 2005, 2007, 2014
Boston Celtics 4 1981, 1984, 1986, 2008
Detroit Pistons 3 1989, 1990, 2004
Golden State Warriors 3 2015, 2017, 2018
Miami Heat 3 2006, 2012, 2013
Houston Rockets 2 1994, 1995
Cleveland Cavaliers 1 2016
Dallas Mavericks 1 2011
Milwaukee Bucks 1 2021
Philadelphia 76ers 1 1983
Portland Trail Blazers 1 1977
Seattle SuperSonics 1 1979
Toronto Raptors 1 2019
Washington Bullets 1 1978
Advertisement