NBA All-Star Weekend is not just a celebration of the league’s best players, but this year also serves as the first major league event since the tragic death of Kobe Bryant, his daughter Gianna, and seven others.
As such, there are numerous tributes being paid to Bryant, from the jersey numbers players will wear at the All-Star Game to a musical tribute performance by Jennifer Hudson. On Saturday night, the NBA announced their latest way of paying homage to Kobe, as they have renamed the All-Star Game MVP Award after him.
“Kobe Bryant is synonymous with NBA All-Star and embodies the spirit of this global celebration of our game,” said NBA commissioner Adam 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.”
Many were wondering how the league would handle Bryant’s death from the perspective of doing something to honor him longterm, as some called for his number (or numbers) to be retired league-wide and others floated the idea of changing the NBA logo. We still don’t know if the league is considering anything quite like that, but naming the All-Star Game MVP award the Kobe Bryant MVP Award is a nice touch and a way to ensure his presence and influence on the NBA is properly honored.
Bryant made 18 consecutive All-Star Games, the most ever in a row and one fewer than overall record-holder Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, and won MVP four times, tied for the most with Bob Petit.