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The Stories Of Championship Trophies
The University of North Carolina picked up another NCAA men's basketball trophy last year, which will make a nice addition to the school's trophy case. The adorned wooden plank is one of the more recognizable awards in all of sports, but what's the story behind it? What does it mean? Here's the scoop on the NCAA championship hardware, plus the cups, statues, and trophies other athletes strive to claim.
NCAA Basketball Championship
The NCAA Championship trophy was first raised up high in 1952. This walnut plank that is embellished with a metal NCAA seal and olive branches replaced a silver cup that had previously gone to the winners. The walnut plank only valued at $500 or so.
This understated trophy isn't the only thing champions get for winning. The morning after the last game, the National Association of Basketball Coaches presents the winners with a much larger and more elaborate marble trophy topped with a Waterford crystal basketball.
The Larry O'Brien Championship Trophy
The NBA's championship trophy made its debut in 1978. It was originally called the Walter A. Brown Trophy, after former ...
... Celtics owner whose name had been on the league's previous championship trophy. In 1984, the league renamed the trophy to honor outgoing NBA commissioner Larry O'Brien. The trophy is around two feet high and depicts a basketball going into a net. The Tiffany designed trophy is made of sterling silver coated in 24 carat gold and weighs over 14 pounds. According to the NBA, each trophy is worth $13,500.
The Vince Lombardi Trophy
This NFL trophy went to the Super Bowl's winner for the first time in 1967. Tiffany and Company also created this trophy. The trophy took on Lombardi's name after the legendary head coach of the Green Bay Packers sudden death in 1970. It's just less than two feet tall and depicts a regulation-sized football. The trophy is made of sterling-silver and weighs just under seven pounds. The Lombardi Trophy is said to have a value of $25,000.
The Commissioner's Trophy
The MLB first gave out this trophy in 1967. The St. Louis Cardinals won the first Commissioner's Trophy by beating the Boston Red Sox in the World Series. Ever since then, the winners of the World Series have received one of these monuments. The design has undergone a few minor changes over the years, but this one probably has more symbolism than most trophies. The ebony base has 30 miniature pennants, each represents one of the 30 clubs. The flags encircle a giant silver baseball with 24-carat vermeil stitches that is engraved with latitude and longitude lines symbolizing the world. The 30-inch trophy weighs nearly 30 pounds and is worth an estimated $15,000.
The Stanley Cup
The NHL's Stanley Cup is named after Frederick Arthur Stanley, the 16th Earl of Derby who was the Governor General of Canada from 1888 to 1893. In 1892 he decided that Canada's hockey teams needed to vie for a trophy. So he gave 10 guineas to purchase a silver bowl made in Sheffield, England. The trophy was originally called the Dominion Hockey Challenge Cup, but Stanley's name quickly attached itself to the bowl. What might be surprising to fans is that the cup wasn't very big. The bowl Stanley purchased was only seven inches tall and 11 inches in diameter. The trophy went to the top hockey team in Canada, but in 1910 it began bouncing around from one professional hockey league to another. In 1926 the young NHL had adopted the trophy on an informal basis by 1947 it became the official spoils of a championship.
The 35-pound Stanley Cup we all know isn't the original Stanley Cup. The original bowl that Stanley purchased has been retired and is on permanent display at the Hockey Hall of Fame. The familiar Stanley Cup didn't come about until 1947, when an engraver redesigned the trophy to make it less unwieldy. Since then, it's become one of sports' most coveted treasures, because its rings bear the inscription of the rosters and staff of winning teams. Of course, every so often the room for engraving on the trophy fills up, so the league pops off the oldest ring, flattens it out, and sends it to the Hall of Fame for display while adding a new blank ring to the trophy's base.
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