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NBA MVP trophy: History, name and previous winners

Home » NBA » Maurice Podoloff trophy: Size, value, history and previous winners

It was about time that the NBA finally paid tribute to some of the greatest players in their history. Now, they’ve unveiled a new set of trophies awarded to the best regular-season performers while also honoring some of the biggest legends of the game. One of those is the new-look NBA MVP trophy, which has been renamed the Michael Jordan Trophy.

“Our new collection of trophies celebrates some of the greatest and most impactful players in the history of the NBA,” NBA commissioner Adam Silver said in a statement, per ESPN. “As we recognize the league’s top performers each season, we also pay tribute to the legends who embody these prestigious awards.”

So, starting now, the NBA will hand out these renowned awards:

Michael Jordan trophy

As you may know by now, the NBA often rewards the best performer in the regular season. However, that has often been a subject of debate, as no one can define what being the ‘most valuable player’ actually means. Does it mean the best player on the best team? Or is it the guy whose team simply cannot win without? Or is it the guy who makes the most impact, regardless of his team’s record?

Notably, back in the day, all of those answers often led to the same path and the very same person. That person was Michael Jordan. Even so, we had to wait until the 2015-16 season to have the very first – and only – unanimous NBA MVP trophy ever, which was handed to Stephen Curry.


Now, it seems like there could be at least a couple of legit winners every year, which is why the MVP race is one of the best storylines to follow in the Association.

Why is it called the Michael Jordan trophy?

Michael Jordan is widely considered the greatest player in NBA history, yet none of the awards, logos, games, or anything in the NBA paid tribute to him. So, as a result, the league decided that enough was enough and it was finally time to honor number 23 with an NBA MVP trophy.

Jordan made the game global, taking it to new lengths and turning it into a worldwide phenom. He was the most famous person on Earth in his heyday, a celebrity among celebrities, and a guy who made Hollywood stars and fellow athletes completely starstruck.

The Chicago Bulls legend led his team to two different three-peats, becoming the most dominant player in NBA history since Bill Russell. Moreover, he also managed to win a league-leading 10 Scoring Titles while also being named Defensive Player of the Year.

Michael Jordan’s two-way dominance made him a living legend and perhaps the most influential player of all time. Nearly every single start that came after him wanted to emulate his game, with legends like Allen Iverson, Kobe Bryant, and LeBron James trying to replicate his greatness.


Simply put, there wouldn’t be an NBA today without Michael. He came when the league needed a superhero and turned a struggling business into one of the most profitable and lucrative in the world. So, it’s only right to have the NBA MVP trophy named after him.

Who makes the NBA MVP trophy?

The NBA is in charge of making the NBA MVP trophy and giving it to the player who gets the most points among voters.

This new award was designed by a Jordan Brand designer alongside with Mark Smith, a former VP of innovation special projects at Nike.

What is the NBA MVP trophy made of?

Notably, the NBA MVP trophy’s weight, height, and every detail on it are nods to Michael Jordan’s incredible career. Designers clearly went the extra mile to replace what was formerly known as the Maurice Podoloff Trophy.

“The trophy, which measures 23.6 inches and weighs 23.6 pounds in homage to Jordan’s legendary number 23 and its six rings, is made of bronze and represents a player coming out of a rock trying to reach a crystal basketball, symbolizing the endless pursuit of an MVP,” according to Nacho Duque of Marca.

Who keeps the NBA MVP trophy?

NBA MVP winners take home the trophy, which is normal, given it’s an individual achievement, after all. As an award that represents the sacrifices the player made to win it, the trophy gives them the ultimate bragging rights, especially to those who were never able to win an NBA Championship Trophy.

In some cases, the trophy is sold or auctioned, and the proceeds are donated to charity. For example, to make affordable housing available in Leeds, Alabama, Charles Barkley sold his two Olympic gold medals and the 1993 NBA MVP trophy. Former NBA champion Slava Medvedenko sold his two rings to donate the proceedings to Ukraine. Still, there’s no standard for an NBA MVP trophy price.

Previous winners of the Maurice Podoloff trophy

The winners of the Maurice Podoloff trophy are filled with the greatest players to ever play the game. Some of these players put up historic MVP campaigns during their reign in the league.

Since the trophy’s inception in 1985, Michael Jordan holds the record for the most MVPs at five. Meanwhile, LeBron James has secured four MVP trophies.

Here are the winners of the Maurice Podoloff trophy since its inception in 1985:

1986 – Larry Bird

1987 – Magic Johnson

1988 – Michael Jordan

1989 – Magic Johnson

1990 – Magic Johnson

1991 – Michael Jordan

1992 – Michael Jordan

1993 – Charles Barkley

1994 – Hakeem Olajuwon

1995 – David Robinson

1996 – Michael Jordan

1997 – Karl Malone

1998 – Michael Jordan

1999 – Karl Malone

2000 – Shaquille O’Neal

2001 – Allen Iverson

2002 – Tim Duncan

2003 – Tim Duncan

2004 – Kevin Garnett

2005 – Steve Nash

2006 – Steve Nash

2007 – Dirk Nowitzki

2008 – Kobe Bryant

2009 – LeBron James

2010 – LeBron James

2011 – Derrick Rose

2012 – LeBron James

2013 – LeBron James

2014 – Kevin Durant

2015 – Stephen Curry

2016 – Stephen Curry

2017 – Russell Westbrook

2018 – James Harden

2019 – Giannis Antetokounmpo

2021 – Nikola Jokic

2022 — Nikola Jokic

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