Suns' Chris Paul to receive Kobe and Gigi Bryant WNBA Advocacy Award
The Suns' Chris Paul is set to be the first recipient of Kobe & Gigi Bryant WNBA Advocacy Award on Sunday at the 2022 NBA All-Star game in Cleveland.
The late NBA legend was a strong advocate for the women's game and as such, an award was created in his name along with his daughter's to honor those who do the same.
Suns' Chris Paul receives Kobe & Gigi Bryant WNBA Advocacy Award
According to an official league announcement on Sunday, Phoenix Suns guard Chris Paul will be the first recipient of the Kobe & Gigi Bryant WNBA Advocacy Award. Many will recall of course that during his career and after, the late Kobe Bryant was a fierce and longtime supporter of the WNBA and women's basketball in general. Bryant's daughter Gigi was also an avid player who had ambitions of becoming a professional. At the time of her death she was on the roster of the Mambacitas - the women's team attached to Bryant's. Kobe and Gigi tragically died along with several others en route to one of Gigi's games - via helicopter - on the morning of January 26th 2020.
What is the award and why is Chris Paul receiving it?
Awarded to those who make significant contributions to the advancement of girls' and women's basketball, along with advocacy for the WNBA, the award is in it's first year. When Paul takes the stage at the NBA All-Star game on Sunday in Cleveland to accept, it will be presented by the WNBA and the wife of the late star, Vanessa Bryant. Speaking on the award and its first recipient, WNBA commissioner Cathy Engelbert was open with her praise of the Suns' star. "I have seen firsthand Chris' appreciation of the WNBA and the game at every level for women and girls," Engelbert said. "His ardent support of our game strongly reflects the legacy of Kobe and Gigi. He serves as a leader and role model for other professional athletes around growing the future of the game for young girls and all fans."
Paul, of course has been a constant presence at WNBA games throughout the regular season and playoffs, while also maintaining support for the youth girls' game through his camps and the CP3 Basketball Academy. Interestingly the WNBA will also make an official donation to the Mamba & Mambacita Sports Foundation. Both nonprofit organizations were created by the late Kobe Bryant, in an effort to give inner city children the help they needed both on and off the court.