Which (American) Sport has the Best Championship Trophy?

A quick ranking of each American sports’ hardware.


Ah, the championship trophy. Each sport has its own traditions surrounding how it’s presented to and celebrated by the victors. No matter how good or bad the trophy may be, seeing a team captain, veteran or coach raise it above his head is always a great moment at the end of a season.

But that’s  the thing. Most trophy presentations and celebrations could be improved dramatically with just a slight addition—a better trophy for the players to lift triumphantly.

Unsurprisingly, there’s one league I think has it right. Make your guesses now, and stick around until the end of the blog to  find out if you’re right (spoiler alert: it’s exactly the one you think it is.)

4. Major League Baseball: The Commissioner’s Trophy

world seriestrophy

Now, I do have a bit of a soft spot for this one, as  I have plenty of fond memories of watching my beloved Yankees raise it above their champagne-soaked heads. And the dogpile on the pitcher’s mound is always a cool thing to watch, which earns this one some extra points. Same goes for the classic champagne in the locker room and with the hometown fans, complete with players in weird looking goggles.

But this is a ranking about trophy’s themselves, and this one is just bad. For some reason, all 30 teams in the league are represented even though only one is wearing the crown at the end of the season, it’s so pointy it could be a falling hazard, and it’s just a bad looking piece of hardware.

How I would fix it: Believe it or not, I kind of like the World Baseball Classic trophy. Maybe we can do something similar. Let’s keep some elements of the current incarnation.  How about a baseball wearing a crown, resting atop four baseball bats? Seems like it could be a nice piece for a Steinbrenner’s mantle.

3. the National Basketball Association: The Larry O’Brien Trophy

lob trophy

We don’t even know if the shot is going to go in yet.

I guess we should assume it will, considering it’s going to a victorious club. But based on the design of the trophy itself, we can’t really be sure. A championship trophy should leave no doubt. This does the opposite.

Honestly, if baseball’s trophy wasn’t so bad, this might have grabbed the fourth spot. But, as it stands, my irrational dislike for this trophy’s basketball pose is probably wasn’t enough to stick the Larry O’Brien trophy in the basement.

How I would fix it: This one is tricky. Let’s stick with the basketball hoop theme, but expand it. I like a big trophy. Let’s go with a golden backboard, one that is fairly large. We can inscribe the winners names on each year’s trophy.

2. the National Football League: The Vince Lombardi Trophy


For all my various qualms with football and the NFL as a whole, I don’t have very  many when it comes to their trophy. The silver is an obviously classy  look, and it’s kind of brilliant in its simplicity. Just a football on a pedestal.

But, like I mentioned above, I like my trophy’s on the larger side, ideally so it has to be lifted over the head with two hands. It just looks better that way.

How I would fix it: This one is a much simpler fix than either of the pair we saw previously. Let’s make that pedestal a little taller. And, with all that extra space, we can inscribe the names of each of the sport’s champions, and maybe the score they won by. Collecting that kind of history on the trophy, and recycling it through the years rather than issuing each team a new trophy, can be very cool when done properly.

1. the National Hockey League: The Stanley Cup

2016 NHL Stanley Cup Final - Game Six

Ah yes, the holy grail of sports trophies. What all leagues should aspire to. This one has it all. It’s plenty large, and it has decades’ worth of team and player names. It’s just dripping with swagger and history. There are plenty of traditions surrounding how it’s presented, how it’s given to each player on the team, and it’s heavily featured in any hockey celebration.

It’s so cool, that most teams won’t even look at, let alone touch, the trophy that proceeds it. You can drink out of it. You can eat out of it. You can put babies in it. The Stanley Cup is pretty much perfection.

In fact, it is perfect. There’s no way for me to fix it. We’ll leave it as is, and show the rest of the leagues the standard  they need to live up to.

In fact, let’s all take a moment and just stare at it for a while.

stanley cup 1

Editor’s Note: This post was corrected to reflect the correct number of teams in Major League Baseball (thanks, Reddit!)


6 thoughts on “Which (American) Sport has the Best Championship Trophy?

  1. The Stanley cup is literally the holy grail of trophies. It has survived multiple hockey leagues prior to the NHL and even comes with a pair of white gloved official handlers. The names engraved on the cup alone encompass the greatest players to have played the game. Makes me glad hockey is my favorite sport


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