LOS ANGELES – Jamal Crawford can add another trophy to the mantlepiece as the Los Angeles Clippers guard was named the NBA's Sixth Man of the Year on Tuesday.
Crawford wins the award for the third time, becoming the first player in NBA history to win the trifecta of the league's best bench player.
In addition to history, the man that teammates call "Benjamin Button," broke his own record – set two years ago – as the oldest player in the league to win the Sixth Man Award.
At 36 years of age, Crawford averaged 14.2 points in 79 games this season for Los Angeles, and shot 90 percent from the free-throw line, good for second best in the NBA behind reigning MVP Stephen Curry.
"I was the oldest to win it last time," Crawford told the media at the Clippers practice facility in Playa del Rey on Tuesday. "I think consistency is one of the keys to longevity. I think it's one of the keys to having a long career. I just try to stay with that formula and try to stay as consistent as possible and try to do what is asked of me and try to do it better and I think with that long-term it will pay off."
Crawford received 51-first place votes from a panel of 130 sports writers and broadcasters in the U.S. and Canada. 2015 NBA Finals MVP Andre Iguodala of the Golden State Warriors finished second (33-first place votes), and Oklahoma City center, Enes Kanter, finished third (19-first place votes).
"I never envisioned myself being a sixth man," Crawford continued. "I always started my whole life. Starting is the cool thing and everybody wants to do it."
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Crawford told reporters that he first took on a reserve role with current Clippers assistant coach, Mike Woodson, in Atlanta in 2009-2010. Initially, he was hesitant, but Woodson told him the starting five rotation was set, and that he wanted Crawford to lead the league in scoring off the bench.
"I didn't want to be a guy who scored 20 points on a losing team," Crawford said. "I wanted to win. So at that point, I said, 'I'll change the course of my career and where it is going and I'll be the sixth man.' I saw the importance of it."
Crawford hopes that his embrace as a bench player will inspire a new generation of basketball players for years to come.
"I've never made an All-Star Game, but I've always had my peers and coaches respect around the league," he said. "Hopefully it is in a positive nature and hopefully this is one of those things for the kinds that are coming up that are nine or ten years old to say, 'Hey, I don't have to start. I can still have an impact on the bench.' Hopefully, this can inspire a new generation of players."
From last season's Sixth Man Award winner, Lou Williams of the Los Angeles Lakers: