The NBA has renamed its All-Star MVP award in Kobe Bryant’s honor in the wake of his tragic death last month.
As commissioner Adam Silver announced during Saturday’s (February 15) All-Star weekend news conference, the trophy will now be permanently known as the Kobe Bryant All-Star Game MVP Award.
As fans know, the NBA icon, 41, was among the 9 deceased passengers who lost their lives in a fatal helicopter crash on January 26, including his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna. In the week that followed the tragic news, the NBA revealed plans to honor Kobe at the 2020 All-Star game in Chicago, where a tribute has been planned. Additionally, the league revealed they'd be changing all players’ jersey numbers for tonight's All-Star game to reflect those worn by Kobe (24) and his daughter (2), who was a basketball player of the Mamba Academy.
The decision came after much deliberation from the league office and players, who Silver said “embraced” the changes. “What is something special we could do at All-Star that had more permanence than changing the numbers on the jerseys?” he remembered thinking, realizing they had “this trophy that, while it has existed for a long time, it never had that particular player association, for example, in the way the Finals MVP is the Bill Russell trophy. To all of us, it seemed like the appropriate way to bring honor to him.”
“I’m sure there will be other honors as well. … But this one seems so appropriate here at All-Star because nobody embodied All-Star more than Kobe Bryant," he concluded. In his lifetime, Bryant played 18 consecutive All-Star Games (1998-2016), claiming four MVP titles of his own.
The renaming comes just a week after Kobe and Gianna were officially laid to rest in a private funeral service on February 7.
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