It has been 12 seasons  since the NBA decided to name the Finals MVP trophy of the great Bill Russell.
“This is one of my proudest moments in basketball, because I determined early in my career, the only important statistic in basketball is the final score,” Russell said.
Russell’s wife, Marilyn, passed away from cancer in 2009, and he was visibly moved as he accepted the honor.
Speaking of the Russell family, on Friday, Karen Russell was on stage in the Courtside with Dukes’ room on Clubhouse, and the former NBA Commissioner David Stern renaming the Finals MVP trophy after her father.
“I think one of the things that David Stern did that was so wonderful was renamed the Finals MVP trophy to the Bill Russell trophy. It is very funny when were in Phoenix at the All-Star game and they gave out the first one, we all posed with it not knowing that they were going to send my dad a copy,” said Russell.
“Kind of the unfortunate thing was my stepmother passed away thereafter, but David Stern made sure that she knew, that they were going to do this for my dad. He was a really thoughtful man and together they created a ring for my dad, which summarized all of the championships. It is a one-of-a-kind piece of jewelry and as everyone in this room knows I love David Stern and I love Kobe.”
The late, great Kobe Bryant was the first one to win the newly named Bill Russell Trophy after the Lakers beat the Orlando Magic in five games.
“One of the most interesting about the Finals’ MVP, Jerry West won it the year that the Lakers lost to the Celtics, and I think that is an interesting statistic. And I love Jerry West, I have known him my whole life, but I would have endorsed the logo change to Kobe Bryant.”
Russell was referring to Nets guard, Kyrie Irving, who lobbied for the NBA to change its logo to the recently inducted Hall of Famer.
“I know that it probably was met with some people that love it — that love the idea — and some people that don’t love it,” Irving said. “But, my thing is paying homage to the example that has been set by that man. Seventeen years old; we are drafting guys that are even younger now. Guys that are coming out of different places and he was the standard for our generation. And he will continue on and I want that to be something in history that is changed forever, that our generation was part of that change and if that means that I have to lead that forward and get the conversation going, then great.”
Irving received support from Bryant’s wife Vanessa.
West told ESPN in 2017 that it would be willing to change the logo, but did not specify whom he thought should be the new logo.
“First of all, I wish that had never gotten out, that logo,” he said. “No I do, really. I’ve said it more than once. It’s flattering that it’s me, and I know it is me, and it is flattering. To me, I played in the time when they first started to market the league, there were five people they were gonna consider. I didn’t find out about it until the late commissioner told me about it, Walter Kennedy, and then obviously the New York Times had a big article about it.
“Again, it’s flattering, but if I were the NBA, I would be embarrassed about it. I don’t like to do anything to call attention to myself, and when people [call him The Logo], that’s just not who I am, period. If they would want to change it, I wish they would. In many ways I wish they would.”
However, according to Yahoo Sports, the league doesn’t have any interest in having an individual player as its logo because of the growth of the league product.
Kobe, his daughter Giggi, and seven other passengers passed away in a helicopter crash in 2020.