(CNN) — The MVP award for the NBA All-Star Game is now the Kobe Bryant MVP Award, according to an announcement by Commissioner Adam Silver on Saturday.
“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 was an 18-time All-Star who won a record-tying four All-Star Game MVP awards, the NBA said. He was named All-Star Game MVP in 2002, 2007, 2009 and 2011.
He was the youngest player to ever play in an All-Star Game at 19 years old in 1998.
The Kobe Bryant MVP Award was presented on Sunday at the end of the 2020 All-Star Game in Chicago to Kawhi Leonard.
Bryant and his daughter, Gianna, were among nine people killed when their helicopter, headed to a youth basketball game, crashed on January 26.
Before player introductions on Sunday, Jennifer Hudson performed a special tribute to Bryant and the other crash victims.
The teams were captained by LeBron James and Giannis Antetokounmpo. Team Giannis wore No. 24 and Team LeBron wore No. 2 — the respective jersey numbers worn by Bryant and Gianna.
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