Commissioner Adam Silver announced Saturday that the 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 first All-Star Game Kobe Bryant MVP Award will be presented after Sunday’s game at the United Center in Chicago, where the league is celebrating the lives of Bryant, his daughter Gianna and seven other people who died in a helicopter crash Jan. 26.
“Kobe Bryant is synonymous with NBA All-Star and embodies the spirit of this global celebration of our game,” Silver said. “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 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 with 18 straight, from 1998 through 2016 (there was no All-Star Game in 1999 because of the NBA lockout).