The WNBA has recognized Chris Paul of the Phoenix Suns as the inaugural recipient of the Kobe & Gigi Bryant WNBA Support Award for his substantial contributions to the promotion of girls and women’s basketball and advocacy for the WNBA. During Sunday’s game in Cleveland, the WNBA and Vanessa Bryant presented Paul with the honor.

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The annual award is given in memory of Kobe Bryant, a long-time WNBA and women’s basketball supporter, and his daughter Gianna Bryant (also known as Gigi). Gigi, a happy, loving, and competitive young lady, aspired to follow in her father’s footsteps by playing in the WNBA and helping to elevate women in sports. Gigi adored basketball and longed to be just like her father, who had reached the sport’s summit. Through forging partnerships, mentoring and training high school, college, NBA, and WNBA players, coaching Gigi’s youth basketball team, and launching the Mamba Sports Academy, Kobe Bryant has contributed to the advancement of women’s game at every level.

“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 consistently demonstrated a unique level of support for the WNBA and the Phoenix Mercury, attending games throughout the regular season and playoffs while also using his public platforms to highlight WNBA players’ on-court successes and stories, as well as their leadership in the community through their fight for social justice. He can be found demonstrating his support for rookies entering the league and WNBA veterans during WNBA tentpole events like the WNBA Draft and All-Star. He also promotes the game among young girls through camps and the CP3 Basketball Academy to enhance young players’ dreams, disciplines, and life skills through basketball.