Pau Gasol is awarded with Kobe and Gigi Bryant WNBA Advocacy Award
Three years after his tragic death in a helicopter crash, Los Angeles Lakers legend Kobe Bryant’s legacy lives on.
Everyone is familiar with his on-the-court accomplishments: five NBA championships, two NBA Finals MVPs, 15 All-NBA selections, 12 All-Defensive team nods, 18 All-Star game appearances and four All-Star game MVPs.
After he retired in 2016, he spent the rest of his days being a coach and mentor to others, including some NBA stars, but what was perhaps most touching was his advocacy for women’s and kids’ sports.
During the 2023 NBA All-Star game on Sunday, Pau Gasol, his championship teammate, was given the Kobe and Gigi Bryant WNBA Advocacy Award.
WNBA Commissioner @CathyEngelbert and Vanessa Bryant present @NBA legend @paugasol with the 2023 Kobe & Gigi Bryant WNBA Advocacy Award 🧡 pic.twitter.com/fep1Ozz7fi
— WNBA (@WNBA) February 20, 2023
Shortly after Bryant’s passing, the NBA renamed the All-Star game MVP award after him in order to honor his memory.
Gasol and Bryant are brothers for life
Earlier during All-Star weekend, Gasol talked about how Bryant’s memory and spirit are a permanent part of him and how the legendary guard forever made an impact on him (h/t Lakers Nation).
“Every step of the way, he’s on my mind, in my heart along with Gigi. And he’s going to be there forever. I grew as a player, I played at a high-level thanks to him, in great part. Obviously Phil (Jackson) and the rest of the teammates, the rest of the staff, I had to put something for my part, but his leadership, his example, his approach really elevated my game and made me a better player. We don’t get those championships, my name and my number don’t go in the rafters, we don’t win those championships without Kobe Bryant being one of the best players on the floor, in history. So again, he will always be with me, in every moment, not just basketball recognition, but personally, too. His family is my family. We will continue to go forward thinking that he is watching. He’s definitely part of those moments.”
Just days ago, the Spanish native was named a finalist for the 2023 Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame class. It looks very likely he will be immortalized in Springfield, Massachussetts, along with the Black Mamba.
In addition, the Lakers will hang Gasol’s No. 16 jersey on the wall of Crypto.com Arena on March 7 when they host the Memphis Grizzlies.