Celtics legend Larry Bird has been recognized by the NBA as the definition of clutch, in a manner of speaking.
The Hall of Famer's name now graces a newly minted postseason MVP award given to the best player in the Eastern Conference Finals.
A corresponding award for the Western Conference bears the name of one of Bird's mortal on-court rivals -- the great Magic Johnson.
Informed of the news by an NBA executive, Bird showed he still has his famously competitive spirit.
"I just wish I could win one of them Magic Johnson trophies," Bird joked. "That'd be the highlight of my career."
Bird of course was one of the best players and top big-game performers of his time, winning three consecutive league MVP awards from 1984-86, as well as Finals MVP in '84 and '86.
In addition to the new awards named after Bird and Johnson, the NBA also announced the conference championship trophies would be renamed. The Eastern Conference trophy is now named after another Celtics legend, Bob Cousy, while the Western Conference's bears the name of Oscar Robertson.
“I have been part of the NBA family since 1950 and among the greatest joys of my post-playing career has been watching the game continue to evolve into what it is today,” Cousy said. “There are few greater achievements in sports than representing your conference in the NBA Finals, and I’m moved that the NBA has granted me the honor of being connected to the Eastern Conference champions for years to come.”
The NBA Finals MVP Award was already named after Bill Russell.