Rating the Hardware

Like many of you, I recently watched the Los Angeles Lakers win their umpteenth championship and then had to watch Kobe Bryant’s smug, stupid face. I loved watching him transition from “determined, focused, stupid-looking Kobe” to “giddy, excited, his teammates still hate him” Kobe. It’s a good thing they play in Los Angeles, as I’ve never seen a team act like they have such great comraderie and unity when it’s obvious they’d all like to stab Kobe in the eyeball. Even gentle Derek Fisher.

Pretty much the best thing about this whole championship run was the trophy awarded. Which in all honesty should have gone to the Cavaliers if they didn’t decide to suck at just the wrong time. The Larry O’Brien Championship trophy is truly a thing to behold. However, it’s probably only in the top five of cool trophies. Since I hate Kobe Bryant and refuse to talk any more about him, I thought instead I would rate the best and worst trophies in sports. That’s GOT to be more interesting, right?

The Worst. Ever.

13. BCS “Championship” Trophy — The Coaches Trophy

Just look at this atrocity. It’s not bad enough that teams fight through a brutal regular season only to never have a real NCAA champion crowned. You’ll notice the name of this trophy is “The Coaches’ Trophy” and it is adorned with the ugly BCS logo. Also, it indicates that the winner of this trophy is the winner of the USA Today Poll. Congratulations, Poll champions. Not only are you sham champions of a sham “championship series” but your trophy reflects it. Even Les Miles wants nothing to do with it. And then the absurd crystal football can be removed from its pedestal to be proudly raised in the air. The only thing more stupid looking than a bunch of football players holding a crystal football in the air is pretty much nothing. Thanks for all of your hard work. It was apparently for nothing.

12. The World Cup
For an event that happens every four years and is truly a global competition, you think they could have crafted something that looks better than a small-ish, golden turd. It’s not even a cup! This thing is not an adequate reward for four minutes of jogging, much less 8 games of 90 minutes a piece in a foreign land.

I also can’t even tell what it is! A fiery set of angels lifting their arms in victory while holding a globe on their shoulders? And why does it look like it was fabricated by a bunch of drunk four year olds? The trophy I won for the Pinewood Derby was more inspirational than this. I do not feel bad that America has never won this.

11. NCAA Basketball Championship Trophy

No one in their right mind would ever look good hoisting this thing in the air.

Just think guys, you only spent three weeks battling out 63 other teams in what is arguably the greatest sporting event ever. This award doesn’t really match the achievement, does it? Good thing 6% of you can expect a grandiose pay day in the NBA. For the rest of you, please enjoy this moment with your ugly piece of wood.

10. Any Tennis Trophy
Ok, so I do need to bring this up. Women’s trophies as compared to men’s in this sport are ridiculous. Just look at this:

Federer gets a freaking gold chalice that you could drink many beverages from, but the Russian blonde gets a huge dinner plate. What is she supposed to do with that? Hang it on the wall of her garage? Eat off of it? At least with a gold chalice, you can probably go to any 7-11 worldwide and fill it up with delicious Slurpee. For free. At least I would. But what are you going to do with a large dinner plate? You can’t even tuck that thing under your arm to take it to your car! And do you think it fits in the trunk? The trunk of a semi maybe. I’d rather have the chalice. Stuffed with Slurpee.

9. World Series Trophy
First of all, this is the World Effing Series! You’d think that they would give away a trophy worthy of a World Championship. The little pennants are a cute touch, but this trophy is NOT impressive. At all.

Not even Jon Lester can make this thing more manly, and he just pitched the game that won the World Championship in this picture. They need to replace this fruity thing with something dominating, oozing with machismo. A bear trap, or even a gold plated bat or a mitt dipped in platinum. Even a pillow case with the face of Barry Bonds on it would be infinitely cooler.

8. Pro Wrestling Championship Belt
Don’t get me wrong. Being able to wear a championship belt is pretty much the coolest thing ever. And I know these belts exist just to be slammed into the faces of their competitors while the ref is conveniently not looking. But the fact that this is what you get after “winning” a pre-determined match, makes it horribly lame. And sorry to tell you, but all of the fake bling on this thing makes it look like it was made in a trailer park.

7. World Series of Poker Bracelet
You heard me right. It’s a bracelet. All I can think of when I hear “bracelet” or see this picture of the bracelet is to think, what’s next? A camaro, turtleneck and a splash of English Leather? Who thought this was a good idea?

But then I realized that the dudes that play poker for a living look like this:

And this:

So I’m sure that a bracelet actually sounds like a nice addition to the wardrobe to these fellas.

The Best

6. Indianapolis 500 Trophy
This thing is epic. It’s big, burly, and has a bunch of faces on it from previous winners. Not only do you know that you’ve spent your time winning something, but your face will soon be etched in pewter and added to the trophy for the next year. Does it get ANY better than that? I really don’t think so.

Who wouldn’t want to be etched in pewter?

5. Boxing Championship Belts
Because unlike wrestling, this is for a real sport where the decision is not already pre-determined. Well…at least when Don King is not involved.

4. Olympic Medals
Now this is an event held every four years that gets it right. Award medals to the top three finishers in varying degrees of metal preciosity. Gold, silver and then bronze that nobody cares about. How did bronze get the nod as the third most valuable metal? Was tin or sheet metal already taken? No time to make medals out of barbed wire? And each games they’re designed a little bit differently. Here are some of my favorites from Torino.

3. Larry O’Brien NBA Championship Trophy
Now we’re getting somewhere. When you win this thing, you know that you’ve arrived. Large, golden and heavy, when the Larry O’Brien walks into a room, people notice. This is a trophy that grown men actually want. It is easy to hug, embrace, kiss and cry onto. All things that Michael Jordan has done to this national treasure.

And the MVP trophy ain’t that bad either. Even though Tony Parker-Longoria sucks, you still can’t help to covet his golden hoop and matching ball. Take a lesson, Major League Baseball!

2. NFL – Vince Lombardi Trophy
Not only is football one of the greatest sports ever, but they have a trophy worthy of the battle required to actually win a championship in this league.

Silver, solid and with a giant football on top. This is a trophy that you can show your Mom with pride and let her know that all those years of skipping class and dating your tutor and injecting steroids into your own gluteal were all worth it. The NFL’s Championship Game = Super Bowl. NFL’s Champion Trophy = Super Rad.

1. NHL Championship –Stanley Cup
Come on, seriously. Even though hockey is at times a mediocre sport when there is no punching, the Stanley Cup is the pinnacle of achievement. I want to win a Stanley Cup just so I can lift it over bearded head and yell “We did it!” even though I would have had nothing to do with it.

Additional reasons why the Stanley Cup is awesome:

  • You get your name engraved on it FOREVER. Or at least until they run out of space
  • It’s an actual cup that you can drink out of. And you are required to swig champagne out of it once you win
  • A new one is NOT made every year. Once you are no longer champion, you have to give it to the new champion. Try collecting one of these, Jerry Jones
  • After the Cup is given to the team captain, everyone then gets a turn skating with it around the ice. Who doesn’t love a victory lap?

  • Each player gets to take the Cup home for a day. Are you kidding me? Is this not the greatest rule ever in the sporting world? I would take the Cup to dinner and a movie, and then we would dip our feet in a river, skip stones and talk about life. What a great day.

When I grow up, I want to win a Stanley Cup. Everything else sucks.

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