Types of Sports Awards


Across all levels of all sports, professional and amateur athletes are recognized regularly for their contributions and performance. America’s four major professional team sports leagues (the National Football League, Major League Baseball, the National Basketball Association and the National Hockey League) each bestow a basic group of awards to their players at the culmination of each season: most valuable player, rookie of the year and coach of the year.

Most Valuble Player

  • Each of the four major American sports leagues designates a most valuable player, or MVP, each season. Major League Baseball awards two MVP awards each year, one for each of its leagues. These awards are determined by ballots taken amongst each league’s respective media factions. While general consensus dictates that MVP awards be bestowed to a league's best player, that designation is often debated. As "Sports Illustrated" magazine illustrates, the award is more often than not a mixed combination of team leadership, statistical and scoring prowess, and prevailing personification of the league as a whole.

Rookie of the Year

  • Rookie of the year is awarded annually to the top athlete in a respective league after their first professional season. The rookie of the year award can be an omen predicting future success. The NBA’s Michael Jordan was one of several players in that league to win rookie of the year and go on to win MVP awards in his career. However, not all rookie of the year award winners can capitalize on the success demonstrated in their first season. This is particularly common in Major League Baseball, where several players who have been awarded rookie of the year honors either descend into mediocrity or even out of professional sports entirely several years later.

Coach of the Year

  • Leagues bestow coach of the year awards on team head coaches or managers. These awards are generally given to coaches and managers whose teams have achieved far beyond expectation, overachieved with a roster of young and inexperienced players, or overcome tremendous adversity or turmoil. Recipients of coach of the year awards are often as hotly debated as those who receive most valuable player. Many leagues, such as the NBA, do not always consider such factors as player injuries, management of team chemistry and personnel maneuvering.

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