Kobe Bryant award, explained: Why the NBA All-Star MVP is named after the Lakers legend

The legacy of Kobe Bryant will live forever. As part of that legacy, the NBA All-Star Game MVP award is now named in Bryant’s honor.

Following Bryant’s tragic death in 2020, the award was renamed as the NBA All-Star Game Kobe Bryant Most Valuable Player Award. In 2022, the award was redesigned to pay homage to Bryant’s achievements during his 20-year NBA career, many of which happened on the NBA All-Star stage.

As it turns out, the All-Star Game MVP is the perfect award to be named in Bryant’s honor, and the redesigned trophy is a reflection of that.

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Kobe Bryant award, explained: Why the NBA All-Star MVP is named after the Lakers legend

On Feb. 15, 2020, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver announced that the NBA All-Star Game MVP Award would be permanently named in Bryant’s honor, beginning in the 2020 NBA All-Star Game, which took place on Feb. 16, 2020, three weeks to the date of Bryant’s death.

“Kobe Bryant is synonymous with NBA All-Star and embodies the spirit of this global celebration of our game,” Silver said in an official statement. “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.”

Fittingly, Bryant’s name is etched throughout NBA All-Star record books.

Over the course of his 20-year NBA career, Bryant was named to 18 All-Star Games, with his first selection coming in 1998, his second NBA season.

At 19 years old, Bryant became the youngest player to appear in an NBA All-Star Game, a record that stands to this day.

Bryant was named NBA All-Star Game MVP in 2002, 2007, 2009 and 2011, tying him with Bob Pettit for most NBA All-Star Game MVP Awards with four.

With records as the youngest-ever All-Star and the most decorated All-Star, Bryant’s name is synonymous with excellence at the All-Star Game.

Kobe Bryant NBA All-Star MVP award redesign

NBA All-Star 2022

Getty Images

The 2022 NBA All-Star Game marked the first year in which “The Kobe Bryant Trophy” was awarded to the All-Star Game MVP.

A redesign from the award in years past, the trophy has “intricate details holding dual meanings, both for NBA All-Star and Bryant’s legendary career.”

Among those details are:

  • An eight-sided base that represents the eight decades of All-Star Games and Bryant’s No. 8 jersey
  • 24 stars on the first level that represent each All-Star in the game and Bryant’s No. 24 jersey
  • 10 stars on the second level that represent the 10 All-Star starters and Bryant’s USA Basketball No. 10 jersey

Read more on The Kobe Bryant Trophy here.

Kobe Bryant NBA All-Star MVP award: Complete list of winners

Kawhi Leonard took home the first-ever Kobe Bryant All-Star Game MVP award at All-Star weekend in Chicago back in 2020.

Below you can find the list of every Kobe Bryant All-Star Game MVP award winner.

Year Player Team All-Star City
2020 Kawhi Leonard Los Angeles Clippers Chicago
2021 Giannis Antetokounmpo Milwaukee Bucks Indiana
2022 Stephen Curry Golden State Warriors Cleveland
2023 TBD TBD Utah


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