CHICAGO: NBA commissioner Adam Silver announced Sunday that the Kia NBA All-Star Game MVP Award has been permanently named for the late Kobe Bryant, an 18-time All-Star who won a record-tying four All-Star Game MVP awards.
The NBA All-Star Game Kobe Bryant MVP Award was presented on Sunday to Kawhi Leonard of Team LeBron at the conclusion of the 2020 NBA All-Star Game here, where the league celebrated the lives of Bryant, his daughter Gianna and seven other people who tragically passed away in a helicopter crash on Jan. 26.
“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 made his NBA All-Star Game debut in 1998 at age 19 – the youngest player to ever play in an All-Star Game. That appearance marked the first of his 18 All-Star selections, second most in NBA history behind Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (19). Bryant holds the NBA record for consecutive All-Star selections as he was honored 18 straight times from 1998-2016.
Bryant was named the NBA All-Star Game MVP in 2002, 2007, 2009 (co-winner with Shaquille O’Neal) and 2011. The only other player to win four NBA All-Star Game MVP awards is Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Famer Bob Pettit.
A five-time NBA champion, Bryant played his entire 20-year career with the Los Angeles Lakers. He earned the 2007-08 Kia NBA MVP Award, two Bill Russell Finals MVP awards and 15 All-NBA Team selections. Bryant ranks fourth on the NBA’s all-time scoring list with 33,643 points.
The MVP award winner was determined by NBA fans (who account for 25% of the vote) and a media panel (75% of the vote).
This is the 10th straight year that Kia served as the title partner of the NBA All-Star Game MVP Award.