Feb. 16 (UPI) -- NBA commissioner Adam Silver announced during his annual All-Star Weekend press conference that the NBA All-Star Game MVP award was permanently named after late Los Angeles Lakers icon Kobe Bryant.
"We were thinking about what the best way is, one of the ways to honor Kobe," Silver told reporters Saturday at the United Center in Chicago. "It happened to be that his loss came shortly before we were moving into All-Star festivities.
"I think one of the things that stands out with Kobe, of course in addition to his five championships, is that he has [made 18 All-Star teams] and tied for the record of four MVPs. To all of us, it seemed like the appropriate way to bring honor to him."
Bryant, 41, and his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna, were among nine killed Jan. 26 when their helicopter crashed into a mountainside in Calabasas, Calif. The group was headed to Mamba Sports Academy, a facility that Bryant created and coached at, for a girls basketball tournament when the aircraft crashed under unknown circumstances.
The crash remains under investigation. There were no survivors.
With the league still reeling from the tragedy, the award will be named after Bryant, with it being handed out for the first time at Sunday's All-Star Game. Until this point, the trophy wasn't named after any player.
Bryant made his All-Star Game debut in 1998 at the age of 19, making him the youngest player to take part in the league's annual midseason event. The Lakers legend holds the NBA record for consecutive All-Star selections with 18.