After he retired one of the major passions of Los Angeles Lakers Kobe Bryant was pushing for women’s basketball. Undoubtedly inspired by his daughter Gigi’s passion for the sport, Kobe spent a lot of time and focus on it, enjoying the skill and fundamentals of the women’s game.
Since his passing, the NBA and WNBA have found different ways to honor Kobe’s legacy. For example, the NBA’s All-Star Game MVP award is named after Kobe, and the WNBA also announced the Kobe & Gigi Bryant WNBA Advocacy Award.
The inaugural award was given to Phoenix Suns star point guard Chris Paul, and during the All-Star Game itself, Kobe’s widow Vanessa Bryant presented Paul with the award, via Yahoo Sports:
Vanessa Bryant presents Chris Paul with the inaugural Kobe & Gigi Bryant WNBA Advocacy Award ❤️pic.twitter.com/Xid5iwI5i0
— Yahoo Sports (@YahooSports) February 21, 2022
It’s hard to imagine any better recipient for the inaugural award as, much like Kobe, Paul has been a major supporter of the WNBA and, of course, the Phoenix Mercury. In addition to Paul showing his support at games, he has also helped elevate the game through camps and the CP3 Basketball Academy with a mission of using basketball to enhance young athletes’ aspirations, disciplines, and life skills.
With the WNBA recently celebrating its 25th Anniversary, Paul was also one of many to wear a WNBA players jersey to highlight the significance.
Unfortunately for Paul, he is going through his own injury problems that kept him out of the All-Star Game itself and will keep him sidelined for the next couple of months. Paul suffered an avulsion fracture in his thumb that will keep him out for six to eight weeks. But whether he’s playing or not, Paul has been one of the biggest advocates for women’s basketball and truly was a fitting choice for the inaugural award in honor of the legendary Kobe Bryant.
Lakers’ LeBron James reflects on hitting game-winner in NBA All-Star Game
In the All-Star Game itself, Team LeBron defeated Team Durant 163-160. Stephen Curry won the MVP, but it was LeBron James himself who knocked down the game-winner in a moment he couldn’t have thought of in his wildest dreams.
“I couldn’t have dreamt it,” LeBron said. “I could not have dreamed of that moment any better than the actuality that just happened. For me to be back here, like I keep stating, 35 minutes south of where I grew up here in Akron, Ohio, to hit the game-winner in the All-Star Game where me and my guys back in the back, we used to watch the All-Star Game.