Los Angeles Clippers star Kawhi Leonard won the first ever Kobe Bryant MVP award at the 2020 NBA All-Star game this weekend, and now we have a clip of the NBA star dedicating his win to the late NBA legend. In a video shared by ESPN, Leonard is shown accepting the award, and is asked what it means to him. "It means a lot to me. Words can't even explain," he replies, then going on to praise Bryant by saying, "I wanna thank Kobe for everything he's done for me. All the long talks and workouts... thank you. This one's for him."
"I want to thank Kobe for everything he's done for me. All the long talks and workouts. Thank you. This one's for him."February 17, 2020
Many fans have since commented on the big moment, with one tweeting, "Kawhi...you are the man. So many deserving players but he is the best. No doubt about it."
"It's fitting that the first Kobe Bryant award went to the man that's most like him right now," wrote another. "Congrats Kawhi! #mambamentality."
"This one's for him." That sums up his will to win in the most humble Kawhi way.— Halafish (@Halafish2) February 17, 2020
Ahead of the 2020 NBA All-Star Weekend, NBA star Dwight Howard revealed that Bryant was supposed to be involved in the big Slam Dunk Contest, but, sadly, he died in a tragic helicopter crash in January. The crash that killed Bryant, also claimed the life of his 13-year-old daughter Gianna, the aircraft's pilot, and six other passengers.
Howard spoke to ESPN about Bryant's death, saying, "For me, it's super sad because I really wanted to tell him how much I appreciate everything he's done, all the things he's said. Even at the time that we were on the same team, we didn't understand each other."
He added: "But I saw a different Kobe, and I even saw a change in myself. And I'm pretty sure he saw it. I just wanted to be able to tell him how I felt about him, and I never got the chance to. That was really the most heartbreaking part. Every day it's been on my mind. It's something that I've just got to deal with, just show the fans in this city that I'm willing to do whatever it takes"
Bryant was 41 years old at the time of the crash, which has since been ruled an accident.