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By Jelani Scott

Larry Bird’s continuing influence on the game of basketball crossed a new threshold Thursday when the NBA announced four new trophies in honor of some of the sport’s greatest figures.

One of those honors included the unveiling of the “Larry Bird Trophy” which will be awarded for the first time in NBA history to this year’s Eastern Conference Finals MVP. In a very fitting turn of events, the award’s Western Conference counterpart has been named after Lakers icon Magic Johnson, Bird’s legendary rival and best friend.

The NBA shared a video of Bird’s reaction to learning the news of the awards’ debuts from NBA Deputy Commissioner and COO Mark Tatum. And, in true Larry Legend fashion, the Basketball Hall of Famer humbly expressed his gratitude before dishing out some trash talk aimed at his good buddy Magic. 

“Well, thanks Mark. I just wish I could win one of them Magic Johnson trophies. That’d be a highlight of my career,” Bird said before erupting into laughter.

Bird and Johnson, who boast a combined eight NBA titles and five Finals MVPs between them, will now be forever linked by something other than their historic roles in the Celtics-Lakers battles of the 1980s. Not to mention, the Hall of Famers are two of 21 players to reach at least eight conference finals in their careers, yet another stamp on their spots in basketball immortality.

The pair of NBA 75th Anniversary teammates were also joined on the podium Thursday by two other top 75 players of All-Time who received their own personal hardware dedication. The NBA renamed the Eastern Conference championship trophy for Bob Cousy, and the Western Conference championship trophy for Oscar Robertson.

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Dive Deeper:
Celtics legend Larry Bird reacts to news of new East finals MVP trophy being named for him
The Hick From French Lick HAD to take a shot at Magic Johnson here.
NBA updates Larry O’Brien trophy, adds trophies named for Magic Johnson, Larry Bird
The Eastern Conference championship trophy has been renamed for Bob Cousy, the Western Conference championship trophy for Oscar Robertson.
The NBA names Western Conference Finals MVP after Magic Johnson
The NBA adds Western Conference Finals MVP award and names it after Magic Johnson
NBA announces new trophies for conference champions, Most Valuable Players
Two fo the new awards have been named for Celtics legends.
One subscription that gives you access to news from hundreds of sites
The NBA has new Conference Finals MVP trophies and, no, that’s not a weird thing
Conference Finals MVPs are very cool and not weird.
‘What else can I do?’: Joel Embiid swerves MVP snub but remains a Philly hero
The 76ers star lost out to Nikola Jokić for the award for the NBA’s best player but many in Philadelphia…
Get all your news in one place