(ESPN) – Commissioner Adam Silver announced during his annual All-Star Saturday Night news conference that the NBA All-Star Game MVP award has been permanently named after the late Kobe Bryant.
“We were thinking about what the best way is, one of the ways to honor Kobe,” Silver said at the United Center before the league’s Saturday night festivities got underway. “It happened to be that his loss came shortly before we were moving into All-Star festivities. I think one of the things that stands out with Kobe, of course in addition to his five championships, is that he has [made 18 All-Star teams] and tied for the record of four MVPs.
“To all of us, it seemed like the appropriate way to bring honor to him.”
The award will be named after Bryant from now on, with it being handed out first at Sunday’s All-Star Game. Until this point, it had not been named after anyone. Bryant made his All-Star Game debut in 1998 at the age of 19, making him the youngest player to play in the league’s midseason showcase.
The Los Angeles Lakers legend 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).