2020 NBA All-Star Game: Kawhi Leonard wins first Kobe Bryant MVP Award after leading Team LeBron to victory
CHICAGO -- With the return to Chicago, one of the best Slam Dunk Contests of all-time, and tributes to David Stern and Kobe Bryant, the 2020 NBA All-Star Weekend was already going to go down in history as one of the most memorable. Thanks to the new format for the All-Star Game, and the dramatic sudden-death win for Team LeBron on Sunday night, it now has a case to be the best version of the event that we have ever seen.
While Anthony Davis ended up hitting the game-winning free throw, it was Los Angeles Clippers star Kawhi Leonard who put Team LeBron in prime position secure a 157-155 win. The reigning Finals MVP took home another trophy for his performance in this game, winning the first-ever Kia NBA All-Star Game Kobe Bryant MVP Award.
Leonard finished with 30 points to lead all scorers and added seven rebounds and four assists for Team LeBron. It turned out the voting wasn't even that close. Leonard finished with seven of the 12 votes, and the next closest was LeBron James with three. Anthony Davis and Chris Paul also received one vote each.
During his press conference on Saturday night, NBA commissioner Adam Silver announced that the league would be renaming the All-Star Game MVP trophy after the late Los Angeles Lakers legend. Bryant earned the honor four times -- 2002, 2007, 2009 and 2011 -- in his career, which is tied with Bob Pettit for the most in NBA history.
After the game, Leonard gave credit to the league for changing up the format to make things more competitive at the end and shared some touching words about Bryant.
"It means a lot to me," Leonard said. "Words can't even explain. I want to thank Kobe for everything -- all the long talks, all the workouts. Thank you. This one's for you."
Jack Maloney lives and writes in Milwaukee, where, like the Bucks, he is trying to own the future. Full Bio
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