The Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) has just announced that it is introducing the Kobe & Gigi Bryant WNBA Advocacy Award. This new award will recognize an individual or group who has made significant contributions to the visibility, perception, and advancement of women’s and girls’ basketball at all levels.
“Kobe was an incredible champion of women’s basketball and Gianna shared his passion and dedication to our game,” said WNBA Commissioner Cathy Engelbert in a written statement. “The Kobe & Gigi Bryant WNBA Advocacy Award will honor their legacy and reflect Kobe’s commitment to mentoring the next generation of players, promoting the game and giving back to the community.”
The new award, which will be issued annually, will honor the late Los Angeles Lakers legend, who was a staunch and active supporter of the WNBA and women’s basketball. His daughter Gianna (who was also known as Gigi) also loved the game of basketball and wanted to reach the heights of the sport like her legendary father.
The winner chosen for the Kobe & Gigi Bryant WNBA Advocacy Award will be a tireless advocate for women’s basketball and foster the highest levels of leadership. The award will honor dedicated people, advocates, and influencers who use their time, talent and platform to raise awareness for the game of basketball.
The inaugural recipient of the Kobe & Gigi Bryant WNBA Advocacy Award will be announced by the WNBA and the Bryant family during the NBA All-Star Game in 2021, which will take place in Indianapolis. Bryant’s wife, Vanessa, will play a vital role in determining who the honoree will be and will present the award each year at the NBA All-Star Game.
The Kobe & Gigi Bryant WNBA Advocacy Award will include a charitable component that highlights Kobe’s legacy as a coach and mentor and Gigi’s inspirational, relentless commitment to playing at the highest levels of the game. Additional details will be announced at a later date.
The popular retired basketball player was killed in a helicopter crash on Jan. 26 along with his 13-year-old daughter and seven other passengers: John Altobelli, Keri Altobelli, Alyssa Altobelli, Christina Mauser, Ara Zobayan, Sarah Chester, and Payton Chester.
Bryant was a five-time NBA champion, a two-time Finals MVP, and the 2008 Most Valuable Player. During Bryant’s career, he made the All-Star team 18 times. He was the youngest player to ever reach 30,000 points. Bryant retired from the NBA in 2016 and scored an NBA-season high 60 points in his final game.