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Vanessa Bryant attends NBA All-Star game to present award

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Vanessa Bryant appeared at the NBA All-Star Game at the Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse in Cleveland to present veteran player Chris Paul with the first-ever Kobe and Gigi Bryant Advocacy Award.

The widow of NBA star Kobe Bryant presented the inaugural Kobe & Gigi WNBA Advocacy Award which honors the memory of Kobe, who was a supporter of the WNBA, and his daughter Gianna “Gigi” who aspired to play in that organization to continue her father’s legacy.

Paul was named the first recipient for his “significant contributions to the advancement of girls and women’s basketball, and advocacy for the WNBA,” according to a WNBA statement.

The award aims to recognize those who use their time, talent, and platform to raise awareness for the WNBA, and women’s and girls’ basketball in various ways,\ as the late Kobe Bryant did on multiple fronts before passing away.

“The award “highlights Kobe’s legacy as a coach and mentor and Gigi’s inspirational, relentless commitment to playing at the highest levels of the game,” the WNBA said. “Gigi, a happy, loving, and competitive young lady, wanted to pursue her dreams of one day playing in the WNBA and continuing her father’s legacy while elevating women in sports.” 

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Vanessa, mother of Natalia, 19, the late Gigi, 13, Bianka, five, and Capri, two, posed with Paul, 36, his daughter Cameron, nine, and WNBA Commissioner Cathy Engelbert, 58, on the floor at the venue as the honors were given.

The award comes more than two years after Kobe, 41, and daughter Gigi, 13, died with seven others in a January 26, 2020 helicopter crash in Calabasas, California along with pilot Ara Zobayan, 50, Alyssa Altobelli, 14, Keri Altobelli, 46, John Altobelli, 56, Payton Chester, 13, Sarah Chester, 46, and Christina Mauser, 38.

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