Larry O’Brien trophy: Size, value, history and previous winners

Larry O'Brien Trophy
The Larry O'Brien Trophy is awarded to the NBA champions. Photo from @NBA on Twitter.

Individual accolades such as the Most Valuable Player and Defensive Player of the Year are all great awards to have. However, being the MVP doesn’t equate to being a champion. The ultimate goal of any NBA player is to get a hold of the prestigious Larry O’Brien trophy.

Larry O’Brien trophy

The NBA Championship trophy is one of the most iconic trophies in sport. This stunning trophy strikes differently from other trophies with its gold vermeil finish.

Let’s take a deeper dive into the details of the O’Brien trophy.

Why is it called the Larry O’Brien trophy?

In 1964, the NBA Championship trophy was called the Walter A. Brown trophy to honor the Boston Celtics founder. Brown was key in merging the BAA and National Basketball League into the NBA in 1949.

After two decades, the NBA decided to rename it the Larry O’Brien trophy to honor O’Brien’s impact on the world of basketball.

O’Brien was the NBA’s third commissioner. He played a vital role in expanding the league from 18 to 23 teams, coordinating the NBA-ABA merger, and negotiating highly-profitable TV contracts. He also spearheaded the adoption of the three-point line, salary cap, and the NBA’s anti-drug agreement.

How much is the NBA Finals trophy worth?

The NBA Finals trophy is one of the most expensive trophies in sports history.

The Larry O’Brien trophy costs $13,500 for Tiffany & Co. to create one for the winning team every year.


What size is the NBA Championship trophy?

The NBA Championship trophy is made by Tiffany & Co. each year at their workshop in Cumberland, Rhode Island. They have been manufacturing it for the NBA since 1977.

The trophy’s design resembles a basketball about to enter a basket. It’s made from 15.5 pounds of sterling silver with a 24 karat gold vermeil finish, which takes six months to create. The Larry O’Brien trophy’s size is 24 inches tall and weighs 16 pounds.

The year and winning team names are engraved on the trophy, but only after the final game. The champion team will give back the trophy to Tiffany & Co. so they can engrave the year and the team’s name.

After the engraving process, the team and its players get a chance to display the trophy in different places, as seen on victory parades. Once done, the trophy is displayed in the arena of the winning franchise.

Who keeps the NBA Championship trophy?

The NBA Finals winner is the one who keeps the trophy in their respective arenas permanently.

This is the same with the Commissioner’s Trophy of the MLB and Vince Lombardi trophy of the NFL.

Previous winners of the Larry O’Brien trophy

There are a plethora of NBA franchises that have at least won one O’Brien trophy since its inauguration in 1977.

The Los Angeles Lakers hold the most championship titles with 11, the Chicago Bulls come second with six, and the San Antonio Spurs come third with five.

Here’s the full list of the teams that have won the NBA Finals since 1950. The list below only covers the winners of the O’Brien trophy since its inception in 1977:

1977 – Portland Trail Blazers

1978 – Washington Bullets

1979 – Seattle SuperSonics

1980 – Los Angeles Lakers

1981 – Boston Celtics

1982 – Los Angeles Lakers

1983 – Philadelphia 76ers

1984 – Boston Celtics

1985 – Los Angeles Lakers

1986 – Boston Celtics

1987 – Los Angeles Lakers

1988 – Los Angeles Lakers

1989 – Detroit Pistons

1990 – Detroit Pistons

1991 – Chicago Bulls

1992 – Chicago Bulls

1993 – Chicago Bulls

1994 – Houston Rockets

1995 – Houston Rockets

1996 – Chicago Bulls

1997 – Chicago Bulls

1998 – Chicago Bulls

1999 – San Antonio Spurs

2000 – Los Angeles Lakers

2001 – Los Angeles Lakers

2002 – Los Angeles Lakers

2003 – San Antonio Spurs

2004 – Detroit Pistons

2005 – San Antonio Spurs

2006 – Miami Heat

2007 – San Antonio Spurs

2008 – Boston Celtics

2009 – Los Angeles Lakers

2010 – Los Angeles Lakers

2011 – Dallas Mavericks

2012 – Miami Heat

2013 – Miami Heat

2014 – San Antonio Spurs

2015 – Golden State Warriors

2016 – Cleveland Cavaliers

2017 – Golden State Warriors

2018 – Golden State Warriors

2019 – Toronto Raptors

2020 – Los Angeles Lakers

2021 – Milwaukee Bucks

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About Jeremy Mallari 128 Articles
Jeremy lives and breathes basketball. He's an avid NBA fan for almost a decade now.

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