Chicago Bulls guard Ben Gordon claimed the NBA's Sixth Man of the Year Award on Tuesday, becoming the first rookie ever to win the award.

Gordon received 88 of 125 first-place votes and 513 points from a panel of sportswriters and broadcasters throughout the United States and Canada.

Gordon nearly won another coveted NBA award, according to the Associated Press.

Gordon, the third overall pick in last year's NBA draft, reportedly finished a close second to best friend and former University of Connecticut teammate Emeka Okafor of the Charlotte Bobcats for the league's rookie of the year honour. A source close to the Bobcats told AP that Okafor was the winner.

The Bobcats have called a news conference Wednesday for what they have only called "a major announcement."

Gordon averaged 15.1 points, 2.6 rebounds and two assists in 24.4 minutes per game this season. He played in all 82 games with three starts as the Bulls finished with a 47-35 record – a 24-game improvement over last season.

Chicago also clinched the fourth seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs, marking the Bulls' first trip to the post-season since Michael Jordan led Chicago to the franchise's sixth title in 1998.

In this year's playoffs, the Bulls won the first two games at home, before dropping two straight at Washington in the best-of-seven Eastern Conference quarter-final series. Game 5 is scheduled for Wednesday evening.

Ricky Davis of the Boston Celtics finished second to Gordon with 257 points, while the Denver Nuggets' Earl Boykins placed third with 155.

Toronto Raptors forward Donyell Marshall finished ninth in the voting, receiving one second-place and four third-place ballots.

Dallas Mavericks forward Antawn Jamison captured the honour last season.

with files from Sports Network