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Larry O'Brien Championship Trophy

Larry O'Brien Championship Trophy
Awarded for winner of the NBA Finals
Presented by NBA
First awarded 1984 (1977-1983 the same design was Walter A. Brown Trophy)
Currently held by San Antonio Spurs
Official website

The Larry O'Brien NBA Championship Trophy is the championship trophy awarded annually by the National Basketball Association (NBA) to the winner of the (NBA) Finals. The name of the trophy was previously the Walter A. Brown Trophy until 1984.

The current design 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]

Kevin Garnett holding the 2008 Celtics' Larry O'Brien Trophy
Kobe Bryant holding the 2009 Lakers' Larry O'Brien Trophy
The O'Brien trophy is a prominent feature of a championship parade.


The trophy, made of 14.5 pounds of sterling silver and vermeil with a 24 karat gold overlay, stands two feet tall. It is designed to look like a basketball about to enter a net. The basketball itself is nine inches in diameter, about the same size as a NBA regulation ball. Valued at $13,500, the trophy is manufactured by the Tiffany & Co. Silver Shop every year. The winning team maintains permanent possession of the trophy. The year and team names are engraved on the trophies, and are often prominently displayed in the team's arena.[3][4][5]


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 often been compared with the National Hockey League's (NHL) Stanley Cup, it has never been as identifiable as the NBA trophy.[6] 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.[7] 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.[8] 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.[5][7] 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.[9] In August, the trophy traveled to Hong Kong for the first time as part of the NBA Madness Asia Tour.[10]


Four trophies on display behind a glassed wall
The San Antonio Spurs display their four Larry O'Brien Trophies from 1999, 2003, 2005 & 2007 at the AT&T Center

The winning team of the NBA Finals receives the O'Brien Trophy, and has since the Portland Trail Blazers won it in 1977. They were awarded it in conjunction with the original Walter A. Brown Trophy. Each successive champion was awarded a version of this new trophy to keep, and the original, cup-shaped Walter A. Brown Trophy to hold until the next championship. This state of affairs pertained until 1983. The Boston Celtics were the first winner of only this trophy, receiving it in 1984 after defeating the Los Angeles Lakers four games to three.[11] The Los Angeles Lakers have won the trophy sixteen times; the Chicago Bulls have won it six times, the San Antonio Spurs have won it five times, and the Boston Celtics have won it seventeen times. The Detroit Pistons have won it three times. The Miami Heat have won it three times. The Houston Rockets won it twice. The five time winners San Antonio Spurs, are the current team holding it, having won the 2014 NBA Finals.[12]

See also


  1. ^ "O'Brien acknowledges problem".  
  2. ^ "December 2004: Picture This".  
  3. ^ "The trophies". St. Petersburg Times. April 10, 2003. Retrieved July 26, 2008. 
  4. ^ "Larry O'Brien Championship Trophy". Turner Sports Interactive, Inc. Retrieved July 26, 2008. 
  5. ^ a b "NBA Legends Launch 2005 NBA Legends Tour: Destination Finals". Turner Sports Interactive, Inc. Retrieved July 26, 2008. 
  6. ^ Sandomir, Richard (June 9, 2004). "This Trophy Is Fickle, And Her Name Is Larry".  
  7. ^ a b "NBA championship trophy going on tour". The China Daily. April 15, 2004. Retrieved October 17, 2008. 
  8. ^ Bremmer, Daniel (September 27, 2004). "The Trophy Tour". The Michigan Daily. Retrieved October 17, 2008. 
  9. ^ "NBA Headquarters Unveiled in Second Life". Business Wire. May 1, 2007. Retrieved October 17, 2008. 
  10. ^ "DHL delivers the NBA Championship Trophy to "NBA Madness" in Hong Kong". DHL. August 17, 2007. Retrieved October 17, 2008. 
  11. ^ "Celtics Win First Bird-Magic Finals Showdown". Turner Sports Interactive, Inc. Retrieved October 26, 2008. 
  12. ^ "NBA Finals: All-Time Champions". Turner Sports Interactive, Inc. Retrieved October 26, 2008. 
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