The NBA will be honoring Kobe Bryant in a major way Sunday night (Feb. 16) at the All-Star Game. According to ESPN, NBA commissioner Adam Silver announced during a news conference Saturday night (Feb. 15) that the NBA All-Star Game MVP award has been permanently renamed after Kobe Bryant.
“We were thinking about what the best way is, one of the ways to honor Kobe,” Silver said. “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.”
Silver added, “To all of us, it seemed like the appropriate way to bring honor to him.”
The NBA champion is an 18-time All-Star and has won four All-Star MVP awards.
During the press conference, Silver also spoke on Kobe’s passing for the first time, ESPN reports. He explained his decision to not cancel any of the games the day Kobe died.
“The immediate issue was whether games were going to be played that night on Sunday night. Through our operation center in Secaucus, New Jersey, we have a live look into every one of our arenas, and we realized that people were already assembling for some of the games that were scheduled. People were already in arenas, and there still had not been confirmation ... that Kobe and Gigi had lost their lives,” he said.
Silver went on to say, “So it didn’t feel appropriate to us that we should be canceling our events and acknowledging something that was not official yet. We were in touch with the family indirectly, and I think also, certainly in that moment, they were not prepared to acknowledge something that had not clearly happened.”
Kobe Bryant, his daughter Gianna and seven others died in a helicopter crash in California on Jan. 26.