The Walter A. Brown Trophy was a trophy awarded to the BAA/NBA champions from 1949 to 1977. When it comes to basketball trophies this is an historic treasure. The trophy was kept by the winning team for one year and given to the winning team of the following year’s finals, unless the previous team won again, much like the NHL’s Stanley Cup trophy, which continues that tradition to this day.
The trophy was originally referred to as the NBA Finals trophy, but was renamed in 1964 after Walter A. Brown, the original owner of the Boston Celtics who was instrumental in merging the BAA and the National Basketball League into the NBA in 1949. A new trophy design was created for the 1977 NBA Finals, although it retained the Walter A. Brown title. Unlike the original championship trophy, the new trophy was given permanently to the winning team and a new one was made every year. It was renamed the Larry O’Brien Championship Trophy in 1984 to honor former NBA commissioner Larry O’Brien.
The inaugural winner of the trophy was the Philadelphia Warriors, who defeated the Chicago Stags. The Boston Celtics won 14 trophies the most in league history. From 1957 to 1969, they won the NBA Finals 11 out of 13 times, including eight consecutive wins. The final recipient of the trophy was the Philadelphia 76ers, who defeated the Los Angeles Lakers in the 1983 NBA Finals.