Basketball: NBA All-Star MVP Award named in honour of Kobe Bryant

Kobe Bryant was killed in a helicopter crash near Los Angeles on Jan 26. He was 41. PHOTO: AFP

CHICAGO (REUTERS) - The National Basketball Association All-Star Game MVP (Most Valuable Player) Award has been permanently named for the late Kobe Bryant, league commissioner Adam Silver said on Saturday (Feb 15).

Bryant, an 18-time All-Star who won a record-tying four All-Star Game MVP awards, his 13-year-old daughter and seven others were killed in a helicopter crash near Los Angeles on Jan 26. He was 41.

"His loss together with his daughter ... is unspeakable," Silver said at a news conference.

"As a father ... that's the unimaginable."

The Kobe Bryant MVP Award will be presented on Sunday to the most valuable player at the end of the 2020 NBA All-Star Game in Chicago, where the league is celebrating the lives of Bryant, his daughter Gianna and the seven others who died in the crash.

"Kobe Bryant is synonymous with NBA All-Star and embodies the spirit of this global celebration of our game," Silver said in a 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."

Bryant made his NBA All-Star Game debut in 1998 at age 19 - the youngest player to ever play in an All-Star Game. His 18 All-Star selections are the second most in NBA history behind Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, at 19.

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