How and why the NBA revamped its championship trophy

    Kirk Goldsberry (@kirkgoldsberry) is a professor and an NBA analyst for ESPN.

THE BOSTON CELTICS have won 17 NBA championships, tied with the Los Angeles Lakers for the most in NBA history. The Golden State Warriors have won six titles when counting their time in Philadelphia, including the league’s first crown in 1947.

Yet whichever team wins the 2022 NBA Finals, they’ll be lifting this Larry O’Brien Trophy for the first time.

That’s because last month the NBA unveiled a redesigned championship trophy, evolving the design that was first introduced in 1977. As part of the league’s 75th anniversary celebration, the NBA reshaped and renamed some of its most important awards, including the iconic championship trophy.

The O’Brien update is the result of a collaboration between the NBA, Tiffany & Co. — which has produced the trophy for decades — and a Los Angeles designer named Victor Solomon, who was tasked with not only redesigning one of the most iconic trophies in sports but also bringing a new look to an entire suite of trophies handed out by the NBA each season.

Before either the Warriors or Celtics get their hands on the trophies, ESPN was given a behind-the-scenes look at Tiffany & Co.’s headquarters in Cumberland, Rhode Island to witness an expert team of makers craft each individual piece from scratch and assemble them into a trophy that not only brings Solomon’s designs to life for the first time, but also honors every past NBA champion.

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