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Larry O'Brien Championship Trophy

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Larry O'Brien Championship Trophy
Updated design introduced in 2022
CompetitionNBA playoffs
Awarded forWinning the NBA Finals
First award1977
First winnerPortland Trail Blazers
Most winsLos Angeles Lakers (11)
Most recentBoston Celtics (5)

The Larry O’Brien Championship Trophy is the championship trophy awarded annually by the National Basketball Association (NBA) to the winner of the NBA Finals. The trophy originally kept the Walter A. Brown Trophy name of its predecessor until being renamed in 1984.

The current design, depicting a basketball over a hoop and basket, was first awarded in 1977[1] 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.[2]


A new trophy was created for the 1977 NBA Finals. The inaugural winners were the Portland Trail Blazers, who defeated the Philadelphia 76ers in six games. 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 the Vince Lombardi Trophy, awarded annually to the winning team of the NFL's Super Bowl and the Commissioner's Trophy, awarded annually to the winning team of Major League Baseball's World Series. The 1982–83 76ers were the last team to win the Brown Trophy, sweeping the 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.[3] The Boston Celtics were the inaugural winners of the renamed trophy, defeating the Los Angeles Lakers in seven games in the 1984 NBA Finals.

As part of a series of redesigned awards as part of its 75th anniversary season, the trophy design was once again changed. The most notable change is the two discs replacing the square foundation of the previous design. According to the designer of the new trophy, the square foundation was seen as an awkward way to hold the trophy, and the round discs will make it easier to carry and lift. The two discs function like the metal bands of the National Hockey League (NHL)'s Stanley Cup. The top disc shows the league's first 75 championship teams from 1947 to 2021, while the bottom disc will have the next 25 championship teams from 2022 to 2046, in time for the association's 100th anniversary. The resigned trophy's ball and net are also slanted to the right, or forward, to represent the league's continued desire to be progressive.[4]


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 basketball depicted on top is the same size as a real basketball. The trophy was designed by artist Victor Solomon for the NBA's 75th anniversary season and is manufactured by Tiffany & Co.[5][6] 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.[7][8][9] 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.[10]


The O'Brien trophy displayed for the 2005 NBA Legends Tour in the New York City NBA Store

Although the Larry O'Brien Trophy has been compared with the National Hockey League's Stanley Cup, it has never been as prominent as the NHL trophy.[11] 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.[12] The trophy appeared on logos for the NBA Finals for the most part. After the Detroit Pistons won the NBA Finals in 2004, the trophy was toured around the state of Michigan, marking the first time the trophy toured around the state of the winning team.[13] 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.[9][12] 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.[14] In August 2007, the trophy traveled to Hong Kong for the first time as part of the NBA Madness Asia Tour.[15] Leading up to the 2023 NBA Finals, the trophy went on a "bucket list", traveling to various locations across sports and entertainment, as well as meeting numerous celebrities. This coincided with the launch of new social media accounts made specifically for the trophy itself.[16]

By franchise[edit]

This table lists the 17 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. For a complete history of NBA championship teams, see List of NBA champions.

Team Trophies NBA 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
Boston Celtics 5 1981, 1984, 1986, 2008, 2024
San Antonio Spurs 5 1999, 2003, 2005, 2007, 2014
Golden State Warriors 4 2015, 2017, 2018, 2022
Detroit Pistons 3 1989, 1990, 2004
Miami Heat 3 2006, 2012, 2013
Houston Rockets 2 1994, 1995
Cleveland Cavaliers 1 2016
Dallas Mavericks 1 2011
Denver Nuggets 1 2023
Milwaukee Bucks 1 2021
Philadelphia 76ers 1 1983
Portland Trail Blazers 1 1977
Seattle SuperSonics / Oklahoma City Thunder 1 1979
Toronto Raptors 1 2019
Washington Bullets/Wizards 1 1978

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "O'Brien acknowledges problem". The Star-News. May 16, 1977. Retrieved June 17, 2009.
  2. ^ "December 2004: Picture This". National Archives and Records Administration. Archived from the original on September 29, 2008. Retrieved October 17, 2008.
  3. ^ "Lawrence O'Brien". hoophall.com. Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. Archived from the original on April 12, 2008. Retrieved August 3, 2008.
  4. ^ Powell, Shaun (May 12, 2022). "NBA introduces new lineup of postseason hardware". NBA.com. NBA Media Ventures, LLC. Retrieved May 12, 2022.
  5. ^ "NBA releases new trophies designed by Tiffany & Co and Victor Solomon". Something About Rocks. Retrieved 2023-05-10.
  6. ^ "Behind The Scenes of the Updated Larry O'Brien NBA Championship Trophy". Esquire. 2022-05-12. Retrieved 2023-05-10.
  7. ^ "The trophies". St. Petersburg Times. April 10, 2003. Archived from the original on January 11, 2009. Retrieved July 26, 2008.
  8. ^ "Larry O'Brien Championship Trophy". NBA.com/Lakers. Turner Sports Interactive, Inc. Retrieved July 26, 2008.
  9. ^ a b "NBA Legends Launch 2005 NBA Legends Tour: Destination Finals". NBA.com. Turner Sports Interactive, Inc. Archived from the original on November 4, 2012. Retrieved July 26, 2008.
  10. ^ Feigen, Jonathan (20 September 2018). "Rockets receive replicas of championship trophies". Houston Chronicle. Retrieved 21 September 2018.
  11. ^ Sandomir, Richard (June 9, 2004). "This Trophy Is Fickle, And Her Name Is Larry". The New York Times. Retrieved October 19, 2008.
  12. ^ a b "NBA championship trophy going on tour". The China Daily. April 15, 2004. Retrieved October 17, 2008.
  13. ^ Bremmer, Daniel (September 27, 2004). "The Trophy Tour". The Michigan Daily. Retrieved October 17, 2008.
  14. ^ "NBA Headquarters Unveiled in Second Life". Business Wire. May 1, 2007. Retrieved October 17, 2008.
  15. ^ "DHL delivers the NBA Championship Trophy to "NBA Madness" in Hong Kong". DHL. August 17, 2007. Retrieved October 17, 2008.
  16. ^ "Follow the Larry O'Brien Trophy tour ahead of NBA Finals". NBA.com. Retrieved 2023-05-21.

External links[edit]

Media related to Larry O'Brien Championship Trophy at Wikimedia Commons