Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant has been named Most Valuable Player in the NBA, the National Basketball Association. Mike O'Sullivan reports from Los Angeles, it was the first player of the year award for the Lakers star.
The 29-year-old Bryant gave the credit for the honor to his teammates on the Lakers.
"This is not an individual award," said Bryant. "This is us playing as a unit. These guys here, they make me look better than I actually am."
Bryant entered the season as two-time defending scoring champion for the league. Despite tearing a ligament in his small finger in February, he played in all 82 games, averaging more than 28 points in each. He was second in scoring in the NBA behind LeBron James of the Cleveland Cavaliers.
NBA commissioner David Stern will present the award Wednesday before the Lakers playoff game against the Utah Jazz, the second in the best-of-seven conference semi-finals. The Lakers won the first game Sunday 109-98.
Bryant's former Lakers teammate, Shaquille O'Neal, was named the NBA most valuable player eight years ago, a year that marked the first of three consecutive championships for the team. The Lakers had not won a playoff series since then until they swept the Denver Nuggets in the first round last month.