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NBA renames awards, Defensive Player of the Year named after Hakeem Olajuwon

The league has redesigned it’s individual award trophies and renamed them after legends of the game.

Michael Jordan and Akeem Olajuwon in Rookie Seasons

The NBA announced this morning that they have renamed and redesigned most of their individual awards. Here’s a summary of those changes:

The Most Valuable Player is named after Michael Jordan.

The Defensive Player of the Year is named after Hakeem Olajuwon.

The Rookie of the Year is named after Wilt Chamberlain.

The Most Improved Player is named after George Mikan.

The Sixth Man is named after John Havlicek.

There is also a new Clutch Player of the Year that will be named after Jerry West, whose silhouette is also the league’s logo.

Of course for Houston Rockets’ fans, the announcement of Olajuwon is the one that will most be celebrated. There’s no argument against honoring The Dream here as his accomplishments speak for themself.

Immortalizing Olajuwon as the pinnacle of defensive stalwartness is a distinction that hopefully reminds everyone of how great he truly was on both sides of the ball. I, like most of you, have him in my top ten of the game’s greatest players. For those who follow the game, it would be hard to find him slipping out of most top 12 lists.

As for the design of the new trophies, I’m not too fond of them, but maybe they’ll grow on me once I see the annual winners hoist them.

This move by the league has been on par with what they have done in recent years as they renamed the Finals MVP after Bill Russell and the All-Star Game MVP after Kobe Bryant. I’m pleased that they have decided to recognize the elites of the game so that their legacies continue to live on.

It will be interesting to see how they continue this trend as I’m sure they’ll figure out ways to honor current legends in the future such as LeBron James and Steph Curry.

My only wish at the moment is that they announce the award winners before the playoffs begin. I’m not sure I can handle another discourse on why the MVP winner should have went to someone else because they didn’t advance past the first round. The recency bias tends to make people ignore that these are regular season awards, but I digress.

Let us know your thoughts on the awards below!