When Kobe Bryant would step on the court in any NBA arena as his career was winding down, fans would shower him with “MVP” chants.
The NBA made an announcement today to ensure that his name would be synonymous with that until the end of time.
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver announced at a special press conference today that the Kia NBA All-Star Game MVP Award will now carry the name of the late Kobe Bryant. The award will now be the Kobe Bryant MVP award (Kia All-Star Game Kobe Bryant MVP Award).
“Kobe Bryant is synonymous with NBA All-Star and embodies the spirit of this global celebration of our game,” said Silver. “He always relished the opportunity to compete with the best of the best and perform at the highest level for millions of fans around the world.”
Bryant, his daughter Gigi, and seven additional passengers tragically passed away in a helicopter crash on Jan. 26. Yesterday, he was officially recognized as a first-ballot Naismith Basketball Hall of Famer for the 2020 class. The All-Star MVP honors that will now grace his name should not be a shocker. The reason for that is because holds the record for most consecutive All-Star selections (18).
Additionally, Bryant, along with Bob Petit, are the only players to hold the honor four times. His last All-Star MVP honor came in 2011. Prior to that, he took home the award in 2002, 2007, and was co-MVP in 2009 with former Los Angeles Laker teammate Shaquille O’Neal.
Bryant retired in 2016 after playing 20 seasons with the Los Angeles Lakers. During that time, he helped lead them to 5 NBA Championships, while winning Finals MVP twice. He currently ranks fourth on the NBA’s All-Time scoring list.