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Pau Gasol Receives 2023 Kobe & Gigi Bryant WNBA Advocacy Award

Last Updated: July 1, 2023
The six-time NBA All-Star is recognized for his efforts to amplify the women’s game around the world from girls’ hoops all the way to the professional level, including among the coaching ranks.

On Sunday, the Women’s National Basketball Association announced this year’s recipient of the Kobe & Gigi Bryant WNBA Advocacy Award given annually to a figure making notable contributions to the promotion and elevation of the women’s game from the youth level to the pros, both in the WNBA and around the world: two-time NBA champion and three-time Olympic medalist Pau Gasol.

“It is an honor to receive this distinction, which makes me especially happy because it represents two people who are and will always be in my heart,” Gasol, who played seven seasons alongside Kobe Bryant with the Los Angeles Lakers, said of the news. “Kobe’s work, especially during his later years, to support women’s sports is an excellent example of where we must direct our efforts to ensure full equality in sports.”

As Vanessa Bryant, Chair of the Mamba and Mambacita Sports Foundation named in honor of her late husband and daughter, added on the occasion:

“I’m so pleased that Pau has been chosen to receive this award. Pau has done so much to promote women and girls in sports and cares deeply about spreading a message of equality, which was so important to Kobe and Gianna. We are grateful to the WNBA and Pau for continuing to honor Kobe and Gianna in this way.”

As part of the fanfare, the WNBA will make a donation to the Mamba and Mambacita Sports Foundation on Gasol’s behalf.

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The nonprofit Mamba and Mambacita Sports Foundation works to create opportunities and programming to empower young athletes in boys’ and girls’ sports in historically underserved communities. Last year, Phoenix Suns point guard Chris Paul became the first-ever recipient of the Advocacy Award.

A six-time NBA All-Star who won two Olympic silver medals and one bronze as one of the longtime faces of Spain’s national team, Pau Gasol participated in the WNBA’s most recent capital raise as an investor. He was an official ambassador for the 2022 FIBA Women’s Basketball World Cup and has consistently used his voice and platform to campaign for increased representation of women in basketball coaching and leadership positions in the WNBA and around the world.

“Through his work in the community and his support as a WNBA investor, Pau has shown to be a longtime advocate in his career for the league and women’s sports advocate, helping to carry on the legacy of Kobe and Gigi,” WNBA Commissioner Cathy Engelbert said. “Pau serves as a leader for women’s basketball at the national team level and has been a vocal advocate for the prioritization of women in professional and coaching pipelines. Pau is a role model for other male athletes and the league is proud to name him as the 2023 recipient of the Kobe & Gigi Bryant WNBA Advocacy Award.”

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About The Author
Sam Dunn
Sam Dunn
Sam Dunn is the Managing Editor of Boardroom. Before joining the team, he was an editor and multimedia talent for several sports and culture verticals at Minute Media and an editor, reporter, and site manager at SB Nation. A specialist in content strategy, copywriting, and SEO, he has additionally worked as a digital consultant in the corporate services, retail, and tech industries. He cannot be expected to be impartial on any matter regarding the Florida Gators or Atlanta Braves. Follow him on Twitter @RealFakeSamDunn.