The NBA has a new trophy obsession. It was announced Tuesday that the team with the best record after the regular season will receive the Maurice Podoloff Trophy.
If you pay enough attention to the NBA, you may ask “wait, isn’t that the name of the MVP Trophy?” You’d be right; it’s getting a new name. The new trophy will be the second trophy named after the commissioner that oversaw the formation of the BAA and its merger with the NBL that led to the NBA we know and love today.
The regular season trophy is the latest in a long line of changes the NBA made last spring in partnership with Victor Solomon (you can blame him for some of the design choices), including a complete redesign of all regular season awards. The NBA introduced new trophies for the Eastern and Western Conference Champions; the Bob Cousy and Oscar Robertson trophies respectively. The NBA then created the Conference Finals MVP award, with the Larry Bird trophy for the East and the Magic Johnson trophy for the West. Will every legend get a trophy now?
Someone will replace Podoloff’s name on the MVP award. Will it be Michael Jordan? The greatest player in league history doesn’t have a trophy, so it would make some sense, but he didn’t win the most MVPs.
“Shouldn’t it go to six-time MVP Kareem Abdul-Jabbar? Wait, Kareem has an award named after him already, will he receive two? When does Julius Erving get a trophy? Tim Duncan? Shaquille O’Neal? Hey that’s not fair, LeBron James should have a trophy but he’s still playing!”
Should David Stern, the commissioner from 1984 to 2014 who globalized the league, have been given a trophy instead? Probably. Regardless, this new trophy is rather pointless in the grand scheme of things, as the goal for teams is to win the NBA championship – not the best record necessarily.
Over the past 30 seasons, only 10 teams with the best record have gone on to win the championship. I’m sure those other 20 teams are just fine not having a physical reminder of “what could have been” sitting in a trophy case somewhere. As a fan of a franchise that would’ve won this trophy twice in the early 2010s had it existed, I’m glad it did not: Bulls haven’t won a title since 1998. Don’t need two Podoloffs to remind Bulls Nation of that.
The Maurice Podoloff Trophy’s glass basketball in the center bares a striking resemblance to the horrendous glass orbs given out as trophies for all award winners from the NBA’s 75th season – another concerning trend. I am still holding out hope that was only a misguided one-time attempt to make the awards from the league’s diamond season “special.”
It highlights the NBA’s recent obsession with changing things that do not need to be changed (I’m looking at you mid-season tournament). The usual trophies given out are iconic. Seeing Nikola Jokic, the two-time defending MVP, holding a tiny glass ball instead of the original Maurice Podoloff MVP Trophy was pathetic.
I won’t care that a team wins the regular season trophy – and you shouldn’t either. This new trophy obsession dilutes the meaning of winning it all. Your team won’t care, and I’m sure the players won’t either. They want the Larry O’Brien trophy – it comes with winning a championship.
TL//DR:NBA needs to quit its new trophy obsession
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