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Chris Paul receives inaugural Kobe & Gigi Bryant WNBA Advocacy Award

Cathy Engelbert and Vanessa Bryant present Chris Paul with the award. (Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images)

Chris Paul has been awarded with the inaugural Kobe & Gigi Bryant WNBA Advocacy Award for his work advancing girls’ and women’s basketball and support for the WNBA.

Vanessa Bryant and the WNBA will present Paul with the honor during the NBA All-Star game in Cleveland on Sunday.

The award honors the late Kobe Bryant, who was a fierce advocate of women’s basketball and the WNBA. Bryant’s daughter, Gianna (Gigi Bryant), had hoped to compete in the WNBA, looking to follow in her father’s footsteps. The NBA legend coached daughter Gigi’s youth basketball team and launched Mamba Sports Academy, where he mentored young athletes.

Bryant was also involved in Her Time to Play, an initiative created by the WNBA and NBA devoted to encouraging women and girls’ participation in athletics.

The Kobe and Gigi Bryant WNBA Advocacy award seeks to honor those dedicated to the progression of women’s basketball and the WNBA, as Bryant used his platform to do.

“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.”

Paul has been a vocal supporter of the WNBA, attending Phoenix Mercury games while using his platform to highlight WNBA players’ stories and achievements. Wearing a WNBA jersey ahead of the league’s historic 25th season, Paul consistently uses his following to amplify the women’s game.

The Suns star also sponsors the youth girls’ game with his CP3 Basketball Academy, a training academy with a mission of using basketball to enhance young athletes’ aspirations, disciplines and life skills.

As a part of the Kobe & Gigi Bryant WNBA Advocacy Award, the WNBA will make a donation to the Mamba & Mambacita Sports Foundation, a nonprofit dedicated to underserved athletes, founded in Kobe and Gigi Bryant’s honor.