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NBA Basketball Trophies



NBA 1st Place Trophy

Basketball is full of awards, both team and individual, to congratulate the best of the best in the NBA. But what is the 1st place basketball trophy? And what is the most prestigious individual trophy?

Firstly, the individual player trophies:

Individual Player Trophies

MVP (Most Valuable Player)

The Most Valuable Player award is perhaps the greatest individual accolade in the NBA. The MVP trophy signifies you were more valuable than any other player to step on the court.

As with most NBA awards, the criteria is not well defined, and the weighting to each criteria is whatever the voters believe it to be. But essentially, the MVP criteria is:

  • Be on a team that finishes with a high seed

This shows the player not just cares about himself but is able to impact winning. The MVP has to lead their team to a good amount of regular season wins.

  • Be statistically superior

The MVP needs to be putting up incredible numbers. Players in the MVP race are often approaching, if not exceeding an average of 30 points per game. Rebounds and assists depends on the position you play but they are also important as a ranking factor.

NBA MVP Trophies

NBA MVP Photo Credit: Vy Vu Flickr


Finals MVP

Finals MVP is very similar to MVP (hence the same name) except it is during the NBA Finals best of 7 games. A player could not win (regular season) MVP but get to the finals and win Finals MVP. This player is the most valuable in these best of 7 games.

Mavericks Dirk MVP

Dirk Nowitzki Finals MVP. Photo by Marc Serota/Getty Images


The Larry Bird Eastern Conference Finals MVP

The next 2 awards are new to the NBA this year. The Conference Finals are the Playoff rounds before the Finals where the two remaining teams face off. The MVP of the Eastern Conference series gets the Larry Bird Conference Finals MVP Trophy.

The first winner of this award was Jayson Tatum in 2022.

Who’s Larry Bird? A Boston Celtics legend that led them to 3 championships in the 1980s.


The Magic Johnson Western Conference Finals MVP

The best player of the team that wins the Western Conference Finals gets the Magic Johnson Conference Finals MVP.

The first and only winner of this award so far was Stephen Curry in 2022.

Who’s Magic Johnson? A Lakers legend who won 5 championships in the 1980s.


Defensive Player of the Year

The Defensive Player of the Year award goes to the best regular season defender in the NBA. This is often given to big wings or centers as they are large enough to protect the basket. Big men tend to be better defenders in the NBA as opposed to guards. Skip to the end of the article to see the last 10 winners of the DPOY.

NBA Defensive Player of the Year

NBA Defensive Player of the Year. Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images


6th Man of the Year

The 6th Man of the Year award goes to the best player that comes of the bench. It rewards players that positively impact the teams performance but isn’t the best player on the team.


Rookie of the Year

Rookie of the Year is an award that goes to the best player in their first year of the NBA.

NBA Rookie of the Year

Copyright 1995 NBAE (Photo by Lou Capozzola/NBAE via Getty Images)


Coach of the Year

Coach of the Year award goes to the best Coach in the regular season. Team performance is an important factor in COTY voting. The COTY’s team has to have a high seed and often out performs expectations.


Most Improved Player of the Year

The Most Improved Player is pretty obvious by the name – it’s the player that has made the biggest leap from the previous season. Individual statistics are usually an important factor in this award and they are a clear indication of the improvement made.


Basketball Team Trophies

NBA Championship Trophy – 1st Place Basketball Trophy

The ultimate goal for any NBA team. The 1st place trophy for a NBA team is the NBA Championship trophy called the Larry O’Brien Championship Trophy.

It is named after the NBA commissioner from 1975 to 1984.

To win this trophy you need to win enough games in the regular season to make the playoffs – top 10 in your conference where seed 8, 9 and 10 compete in a play-in for the 8th and final spot. The teams then have to make it through round 1, Conference Semi-Finals, Conference Finals and then win the NBA Finals all in a best of 7.

NBA 1st Place Trophy

Kobe Bryant with Larry O’Brien Trophy. Photo credit: Antonio R. Villaraigosa Flickr

Conference Finals Trophy

The Conference Finals Trophy is awarded to the team that makes it through round 1 of the playoffs, the Conference Semi Finals and the wins the Conference Finals. There are 2 Conferences so each year there are 2 winners of this Trophy, with the NBA Finals winner being 1 of the 2.


List of past 10 winners


  • 2022 Nikola Jokic
  • 2021 Nikola Jokic
  • 2020 Giannis Antetokoumpo
  • 2019 Giannis Antetokoumpo
  • 2018 James Harden
  • 2017 Russell Westbrook
  • 2016 Stephen Curry
  • 2015 Stephen Curry
  • 2014 Kevin Durant
  • 2013 LeBron James
  • 2012 LeBron James

Finals MVP

  • 2022 TBD
  • 2021 Giannis Antetokoump
  • 2020 LeBron James
  • 2019 Kawhi Leonard
  • 2018 Kevin Durant
  • 2017 Kevin Durant
  • 2016 LeBron James
  • 2015 Andre Igoudala
  • 2014 Kawhi Leonard
  • 2013 LeBron James
  • 2012 LeBron James

Defensive Player of the Year

  • 2022 Marcus Smart
  • 2021 Rudy Gobert
  • 2020 Giannis Antetokoumpo
  • 2019 Rudy Gobert
  • 2018 Rudy Gobert
  • 2017 Draymond Green
  • 2016 Kawhi Leonard
  • 2015 Kawhi Leonard
  • 2014 Joakim Noah
  • 2013 Marc Gasol
  • 2012 Tyson Chandler

Larry Bird Easter Conference MVP

Magic Johnson Western Conference MVP

Most Improved Player

  • 2022 Ja Morant
  • 2021 Julius Randle
  • 2020 Brandon Ingram
  • 2019 Pascal Siakam
  • 2018 Victor Oladipo
  • 2017 Giannis Antetokoumpo
  • 2016 CJ McCollum
  • 2015 Jimmy Butler
  • 2014 Goran Dragic
  • 2013 Paul George
  • 2012 Ryan Anderson

6th Man of the Year

  • 2022 Tyler Herro
  • 2021 Jordan Clarkson
  • 2020 Montrezl Harrell
  • 2019 Lou Williams
  • 2018 Lou Williams
  • 2017 Eric Gordon
  • 2016 Jamal Crawford
  • 2015 Lou Williams
  • 2014 Jamal Crawford
  • 2013 JR Smith
  • 2012 James Harden

Rookie of the Year

  • 2022 Scottie Barnes
  • 2021 LaMelo Ball
  • 2020 Ja Morant
  • 2019 Luka Doncic
  • 2018 Ben Simmons
  • 2017 Malcolm Brogdon
  • 2016 Karl-Anthony Towns
  • 2015 Andrew Wiggins
  • 2014 Michael Carter-Williams
  • 2013 Damian Lillard
  • 2012 Kyrie Irving

Coach of the Year

  • 2022 Monty Williams
  • 2021 Tom Thibodeau
  • 2020 Nick Nurse
  • 2019 Mike Budenholzer
  • 2018 Dwane Casey
  • 2017 Mike D’Antoni
  • 2016 Steve Kerr
  • 2015 Mike Budenholzer
  • 2014 Gregg Popovich
  • 2013 George Karl
  • 2012 Gregg Popovich

All-Star MVP

  • 2022 Stephen Curry
  • 2021 Giannis Antetokoump
  • 2020 Kawhi Leonard
  • 2019 Kevin Durant
  • 2018 LeBron James
  • 2017 Anthony Davis
  • 2016 Russell Westbrook
  • 2015 Russell Westbrook
  • 2014 Kyrie Irving
  • 2013 Chris Paul
  • 2012 Kevin Durant

Who will win the 1st place basketball trophy this year?

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Chicago Bulls

1997 NBA Championship Ring




1997 NBA Championship Ring

The 1990s were an explosive time for the NBA, with the rise of Michael Jordan’s stardom and the dynasty that became the Chicago Bulls. With aging stars from the 80s like Larry Bird and Magic Johnson coming out of the league in the early 90s, Jordan and the Bulls were able to dominate against franchises that had been bullying them for years. They came up against the Jazz for the 1997 NBA Championship ring.


The 1997 NBA Finals

The Chicago Bulls were at the peak of their powers, after 3-peating in 1991-1993 and winning the previous year in 1996, they were daring any team to take them on. The Utah Jazz had a roster fronted by Hall of Fame power forward and 1997 NBA MVP, Karl “Mailman” Malone and playmaking point guard, John Stockton. They reached a franchise record 64 wins that season and came out with the Western Conference Finals Championship.

The Chicago Bulls went 62-20 in the regular season and finished 1st in the Central Division. Jordan obtained his 10th scoring title averaging 28.7 points per game. The Bulls now had a roster filled with rebounding Power Forward Dennis Rodman, perennial All Star wing Scottie Pippin, leathal shooter Steve Kerr and Toni Kukoc.

Game 1

Game 1 of the NBA Finals was a close battle of the teams stars. In the last minute, Pippin hits a 3 to go up and John Stockton immediately answers with a 3 of his own, putting Utah up 82-81. Rodman fouls which puts Karl Malone at the line where he misses both free throws. With less than 10 seconds to go Jordan is inbounded the ball, goes towards the basket, stops and knocks down a midrange jumper to win the game.

Game 1 Highlights

Game 2

Game 2 was another master class by Jordan. He put up 39 points, 13 rebounds and 9 assists. The Bulls dominated the Jazz and it never looked like much of a contest after the 1st quarter. Karl Malone only made 6-20 field goals and the Bulls won 97 – 85, coffin nailed in with a Dennis Rodman 3.

Game 2 Highlights

Game 3

When the venues switched and Utah were at home, the crowd gave the team a much needed boost. Scottie Pippin hit a record (at the time) 7 3 pointers. However, the Bulls did not play like a team that wanted to put the series away. Karl Malone finished the game with 37 points and 10 rebounds. The Jazz won the game 104 – 93 even though the Bulls cut the lead from 24 points to 7 in the 4th quarter.

In the post game, Rodman made a remark about mormons that got him fined $50,000 by the NBA – clearly upset about his bad play. He finished the game with 0 points, 3 rebounds and 1 assist.

Michael Jordan finished the game with 26 points and Scottie finished with 27 points.

Game 3 highlights

Game 4

Game 4 was back in Utah and was neck and neck with multiple lead changes throughout. At the end of the game, Karl Malone scored 2 free throws to put the Jazz up 3. Jordan missed a potential game tying 3 and the Jazz got an easy dunk to put the game out of reach. The Jazz won Game 4:  78 – 73.

Game 4 Highlights

Game 5

Game 5 of the 1997 Finals will forever been known as ‘The Flu Game’. According to Michael Jordan himself, he ordered a pizza the evening before Game 5 to his hotel room from a Utah pizza restaurant. He spent all night vomiting, turning up to the game dehydrated and barely able to stand. Jordan started slow, but score 17 points in the second quarter. Jordan helped the Bulls erase a 8 point lead by going on a 10 – 0 run. He scored a 3 to put the Bulls up and they won the game 90 – 88.

Game 5 Highlights

Game 6

Steve Kerr hit the game winner of Game 6 in spectacular fashion as Michael was being doubled by the Jazz.

Steve Kerr’s famous Game 6 shot:

1997 Chicago Bulls Championship Parade

Steve Kerr explains the final shot at the Championship parade in Chicago jokingly saying,

‘There’s been some misconceptions about what actually happened I wanted to clear it up. When we called timeout with 20 seconds to go, we went into the huddle.. Phil told Michael I want you to take the last shot and Michael said Phil I told feel comfortable in these situations, so maybe we ought to go in another direction. Why don’t we go to Steve. So I thought to myself well I guess I’ve got to bail Michael out again.”

What actually happened was Jordan knew the Jazz were going to double him so he told Steve Kerr in the huddle,

“When the double comes, be ready”

This is how Kerr knew to be ready and knock down the 2 point shot to win the game.

The 1997 NBA Championship ring

The 1997 NBA Championship ring has the famous Chicago Bulls branding of the angry bull encrusted in diamonds. On one side the words read, ‘World Champions team of the decade 96 97’ with the NBA logo. On the other side of Michael Jordan’s ring, the words ‘Jordan’ appear with an image of 5 Larry O’Brien Championship trophies symbolizing the 5 championships won by Michael Jordan to this point.

1997 NBA Championship Ring

1997 NBA Championship Ring Photo by Chad Bunger Flickr


The Ring Ceremony

The Chicago Bulls ring ceremony was held on November 1st 1997, before the Bulls played the Philadelphia 76ers at the United Center.

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Who is the best 1 on 1 NBA Player?




Ja Morant - The Memphis Grizzlies

Who is the best 1 on 1 NBA player according to NBA fans?

A tricky question considering basketball is a team game where teams are rarely successful in a iso-heavy system (just see the James Harden Houston Rockets).

But nevertheless, here is our top 5 best 1 on 1 NBA players (in no particular order):


1. Kevin Durant

Kevin Durant playing for the Golden State Warriors - Basketblues

Kevin Durant – Golden State Warriors Photo by: Curt Johnson Flickr

Kevin Durant has been torching the league since he was drafted No. 2 by the Seatle Supersonics in 2007. His ball handling skills are amongst the best all time for a player that is 6 ft 8 +. What makes KD so unstoppable is his ability to knock down what seems like 99% of his midrange shots. His length means that he can shoot over everyone which is why KD has to be on this list.

Why KD is on the list:

  • Ball handling skills for his size
  • Deadly midrange pull up which is near on unstoppable
  • Versatility – shooting, layups, dunks, lob threats, you name it
  • 3 point shooting – 38.4% from 3 (from a player that can play solid defence


2. James Harden

James Harden on the Houston Rockets

James Harden Photo by: The Celebs Fact Flickr

Fans are still unclear whether James Harden has taken a step down in his basketball ability or has been playing injured during his time with the Philadelphia 76ers. Either way, Harden is the NBA’s epitome of iso. During his Houston Rocket days, Mike D’Antoni implemented an iso heavy system that allowed Harden to rack up insane statistical numbers. He had a ferocious first step that left perimeter defenders for dust, and if met in the paint was such a good playmaker that he would lob it to his center for the easy dunk. James also has a leathal 3 pointer, one that would have resulted in at least 1 NBA Championships if he had not run into the Warriors dynasty (and missed 27 3 pointers in a row).

Why James Harden is on the list:

  • Lightning fast first step
  • 3 point shooting
  • Playmaking
  • Made centers look like prime Shaq


3. Ja Morant

Ja Morant - The Memphis Grizzlies

Ja Morant – Photo by: Casino Connection Flickr

The 2021-2022 Most Improved Player of the Year has had an incredible 3rd season with the Memphis Grizzlies. He led his team to the NBA playoffs but unfortunatly suffered a knee injury and lost to the NBA finalists, Golden State.

Ja is very reminicent of Allen Iverson and young Derick Rose as he has unbelievable athleticism and can somehow contort his body making blocking his layups near on impossible. Ja is one of those players that believe he is the best in the league and holds himself like a winner. He relishes the big moments and rarely lets his fans down.

Why Ja Morant is on the list:

  • Incredible athleticism
  • Top dog mentality
  • Clutch
  • Shines in big moments


4. Stephen Curry

Stephen Curry

Stephen Curry – Photo by: Casino Connection

Steph Curry is back on form this season after suffering a broken wrist and missing most of the 2019 season. Last season he won the scoring title, this season has won the All-Star MVP, the Magic Johnson Western Conference Finals MVP and his team is ready to make a play in the NBA finals.

Curry is the greatest shooter of all time – something very few people can repute. His ability to hit 3’s from 30, 40, 50 feet away has baffled NBA analysts for years. Guarding Staph is a nightmare for this reason, but not this reason alone. He is a guard that consistantly covers the most ground during games. The Golden State motion offence sees Steph constantly running around set screens for the slightest bit of distance for a shot. He is incredibly difficult to guard. Not only this, but Steph might be the most unselfish player in the league. He is very happy passing to his team mate Klay so that he can beat his own 3 pointer record. The only person to stop Steph Curry seems to be Steph himself – as he’s known to go into a brief shooting slumps, something he very quickly pulls himself out of.

Why Steph Curry is on the list:

  • 3 pointers – this can’t be understated
  • Motion offence – constantly moving
  • Unselfish
  • Shooting


5. LeBron James

LeBron James - Lakers

Lebron James – Photo by Harry How/Getty Images

LeBron is still the face of the NBA, although his team, the Los Angeles Lakers had an abysmal season. LeBron still manage to put up 30.3 points, 8.2 rebounds and 6.2 assists in 56 games at the age of 38 – something nobody this age has got near to. LeBron’s ability to deny Father Time’s grip on him is truly impressive.

Despite his age, LeBron still seems to be able to get the rim at will. His athleticism is not what prime Cavs/Heat LeBron was but he’s adapted his game – put on more muscle, developed his 3 point shooting and learnt when best to coast and when to turn the jets on.

Why LeBron James is on the list:

  • Powerful bully-ball type plays
  • Clutch
  • Well developed offensive game
  • Ability to posterise and suck the will out of opposing team


Who would you add to the list?

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Team with the worst record to win the NBA Finals




The Washington Wizards - 1978

The NBA has been around for 75 years as it celebrates its Birthday on 6th June, established in 1946. In that time we have had 74 Championship winners with the winner of Warriors vs Celtics becoming the 75th.


Who was the team with the worst record to go to the NBA Finals? (pre-1961)

Pre-1961 NBA teams played less than 75 games so we’ve split this into pre-1961 and post-1961.

The pre-1961 winner? The Minneapolis Lakers in 1959. They finished the 1958-1959 regular season with a 33-39 record with a winner percentage of .402.

The Minneapolis Lakers made it all the way to the finals beating Detroit and the St Louis Hawkes. Unfortunately, this team lost to the Boston Celtics in the finals.


Who was the team with the worst record to go to the NBA Finals? (post-1961)

The team with the worst record to go to the NBA finals post-1961 was again… The Los Angeles Lakers. They had a 49-31 record in 80 games played, reaching the finals but lost to again… The Celtics.


The Championship winner with the worst regular season

Answer: The Washington Bullets in 1978. They had a record of 44-38 in 82 games with a winning percentage of .537

They beat the Seatle Supersonics to take home the Champtionship trophy – both teams had a winning percentage under .500. Wes Unseld, the Bullets star Power Forward/Center was the Finals MVP averaging 9 points, 11.7 rebounds and 3.9 assists in 7 games.

The Washington Bullets were also the team with the lowest regular season wins to win a Championship – rather impressive.

The Washington Wizards - 1978

The Washington Wizards – 1978


19 franchises have won the NBA Championship

Here is a list of the NBA teams with a Championship

  • Los Angeles Lakers 17
  • Boston Celtics 17
  • Golden State Warriors 6
  • Chicago Bulls 6
  • San Anotnio Spurs 5
  • Philadelphia 76ers 3
  • Miami Heat 3
  • Detroit Pistons 3
  • Houston Rockets 2
  • Milwaukee Bucks 2
  • New York Nicks 2
  • Cleveland Cavaliers 1
  • Atlanta Hawks 1
  • Oklahoma City Thunder 1
  • Washington Wizards 1
  • Dallas Mavericks 1
  • Portland Trailblazers 1
  • Toronto Raptors 1
  • Sacremento Kings 1

Which teams have never won a NBA Championship?

Here is a list of teams that have never won an NBA Championship

  • Phoenix Suns
  • Utah Jazz
  • Brooklyn Nets
  • Indiana Pacers
  • Denver Nuggets
  • Los Angeles Clippers
  • Minnesota Timberwolves
  • New Orleans Pelicans
  • Orlando Magic
  • Charlotte Hornets
  • Memphis Grizzlies

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