NBA star Chris Paul named first recipient of Kobe & Gigi Bryant WNBA Advocacy Award – WNBA.com

NBA STAR CHRIS PAUL NAMED FIRST RECIPIENT OF KOBE AND GIGI BRYANT WNBA ADVOCACY AWARDS

NEW YORKFebruary 20, 2022 Today the WNBA announced that 12-time Phoenix Suns All-Star Guard Chris Paul has been named the first recipient of the Kobe & Gigi Bryant WNBA Advocacy Award for his significant contributions to the advancement of women’s and women’s basketball. and his defense of the WNBA. The WNBA and Vanessa Bryant will present the award to Paul at the 2022 NBA All-Star in Cleveland during Sunday’s game.

The annual award honors the late Kobe Bryant, a dedicated supporter of the WNBA and women’s basketball, and his daughter Gianna (also known as Gigi). Gigi, a happy, loving, and competitive young woman, wanted to pursue her dream of one day playing in the WNBA and continuing her father’s legacy while elevating women in sport. Gigi loved basketball and aspired to reach the top of the sport like her father. Kobe Bryant helped grow the women’s game at all levels by forging relationships, mentoring and training high school, college, NBA and WNBA players, coaching the basketball team of Gigi’s youth and launching the Mamba Sports Academy. He has also been involved in empowering girls through Its time to playan initiative created by the WNBA and the NBA dedicated to promoting participation in athletics on behalf of girls and women.

The Kobe and Gigi Bryant WNBA Advocacy Award is intended to honor advocates and influencers who use their time, talent and platform to bring awareness to the WNBA and women’s and women’s basketball in a variety of ways, as Kobe was so determined to do. make.

“I have seen firsthand Chris’s appreciation for the WNBA and the game at all levels for women and girls, especially in Phoenix and North Carolina, and his ardent support for our game is a strong reflection of that. legacy of Kobe and Gigi,” WNBA said. Curator Cathy Engelbert. “The league is proud to name Chris as the inaugural recipient of the Kobe & Gigi Bryant WNBA Advocacy Award, as he serves as a leader and role model for other professional athletes around growing the future of the game for young girls and all the fans.”

A dedicated WNBA and Phoenix Mercury fan, Paul has always shown a unique level of support, attending games throughout the regular season and playoffs while using his public platforms to highlight successes. and the on-court stories of WNBA players and their leadership in the community through their struggle for social justice. At WNBA tentpole events such as WNBA Draft and All-Star, he can be found showing his support for rookies entering the league and WNBA veterans. It also supports the game of young girls through camps and the CP3 Basketball Academy, with a mission to use basketball to enhance the aspirations, disciplines and life skills of young athletes. Before the start of WNBA history 25and season, Paul was among several NBA stars who donned a WNBA player jersey to amplify the historical significance of the moment. Additionally, Paul has teamed up with Suns center Deandre Ayton to support Mercury’s recent WNBA Finals playoff run.

A familiar face from WNBA and NBA games, Kobe popularized the orange WNBA hoodie when he wore it alongside Gigi at the Mavericks-Lakers game they attended together in December 2019. No only marking an iconic moment of a “Girl Dad” supporting his daughter and her WNBA aspirations but helping to make the hoodie the best-selling WNBA merchandise item ever. “The orange hoodie has become a symbol of support for women’s basketball and active women in professional sports, as well as the determination and dedication of W players,” Engelbert said. Paul also wore the WNBA orange hoodie on several occasions.

The Kobe & Gigi Bryant WNBA Advocacy Award highlights Kobe’s legacy as a coach and mentor and Gigi’s inspiring and relentless commitment to playing at the highest levels of the game. The WNBA will donate to the Mamba & Mambacita Sports Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to creating positive impact for athletes and underserved boys and girls in sport, founded through the vision and loving memory of Kobe and Gigi Bryant.

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