NBA renames individual awards after several legends, other leagues should follow


The NBA is making some changes to its individual awards, naming six of them after a collection of basketball legends.

The changes were made to the MVP award, defensive player of the year, sixth man of the year, rookie of the year, most improved player, and a new award for the “clutch player of the year.”

Those awards will now be known as the Michael Jordan Award (MVP), the Hakeem Olajuwon Trophy (defensive player of the year), the Wilt Chamberlain Trophy (rookie of the year), the John Havlicek Trophy (sixth man of the year), the George Mikan Trophy (most improved player), and the Jerry West Trophy (clutch player of the year).

It’s a great way to honor the legacy of each player. Jordan won more MVP awards than any player in league history other than Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (who already has the league’s Social Just award named after him), while Olajuwon is known as one of the league’s all-time greatest defenders and a two-time winner of the league’s defensive player of the year award. 

It also might be something for other league’s to consider.

While there are some major awards named after fitting players (baseball’s Cy Young award comes to mind) a lot of them could use an upgrade.

Nowhere is that more noticeable than in the NFL and NHL. 

Some of the NHL’s current award names have no real meaning to modern day fans. The league’s scoring champion, for example, is named after Art Ross. And while Ross was a pivotal player in the early days of professional hockey, he played just three games in the league and scored a single goal. Why not name the award after Wayne Gretzky? Or the Hart Trophy (the league MVP) after somebody like Gordie Howe (a six-time winner)?

In the NFL, the major awards have no past connection to them at all and are simply named things like offensive and defensive player of the year awards. 

Why not give the league’s best defensive player the Lawrence Taylor or Reggie White award? Or make the MVP award the Peyton Manning award?

Baseball could even get creative with it and individually name each Gold Glove award after a player that dominated that respective position. Brooks Robinson at third base, Roberto Clemente in right field, Willie Mays in center field, Ozzie Smith at shortstop, and so on around the diamond. 

It is a good idea by the NBA. The other league’s should follow in its footsteps and consider it as well.

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