February 20, 2022 

Chris Paul wins Kobe and Gigi Bryant WNBA Advocacy Award

Paul honored with inaugural award recognizing individuals supporting women's basketball

Chris Paul, a 12-time NBA All-Star who is currently a guard for the Phoenix Suns, was named the inaugural recipient of the Kobe and Gianna (Gigi) Bryant WNBA Advocacy Award the WNBA announced Sunday at the NBA All-Star weekend.

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The award, which was introduced in 2020, honors both Bryants in their devotion to the sport and is given to an individual or group that has demonstrated consistent commitment to the advancement of women’s basketball and that makes a marked effort to support WNBA players.

Paul, who has been openly heartfelt about his admiration for Kobe and Gigi—both as skilled basketball players and loving father and daughter—is the first recipient to carry on the Bryants’ legacy through this award. It is through this award that Gigi and Bryant’s passion for basketball and their inspiring contributions to the basketball community may live on.

Both on and off the court, Gigi and Kobe Bryant worked tirelessly to better the game of basketball. From founding the Mamba Sports Academy, now known as the Sports Academy, to coaching talented young women through the Her Time to Play initiative, Kobe Bryant was dedicated to supporting women’s basketball. Gigi very much took after her father as a gifted and hard-working young athlete who had WNBA aspirations.

Paul has been outspoken in his support of women’s basketball and the WNBA. “I have seen first-hand Chris’ appreciation of the WNBA and the game at every level for women and girls, especially in Phoenix and North Carolina, and his ardent support of our game strongly reflects the legacy of Kobe and Gigi,” said WNBA Commissioner 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 fans.”

From stylishly sporting WNBA clothing and the jersey of his fellow Phoenix basketball star Skylar Diggins-Smith, Paul has been vocal in his support for the WNBA. But Paul’s support for women’s basketball is not limited to fashion. The Suns guard regularly attends WNBA games, including Game 2 of the 2021 WNBA Finals.

Paul’s commitment to helping grow the women’s basketball audience could not be more clearly shown than through his purchase of 500 tickets for Game 3 of the 2021 WNBA semifinals between the Las Vegas Aces and Phoenix Mercury to donate to fans.

On the court, Paul is a decorated and accomplished player, earning nine All-Defensive Team awards and two Olympic gold medals.

Through his many contributions to both men’s and women’s basketball, Paul is establishing a high standard for future recipients of the Kobe and Gigi Bryant WNBA Advocacy Award.

Written by Emma Paidra

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