Memphis' Marc Gasol, who anchored the league's stingiest defense, is the recipient of the 2012-13 Kia NBA Defensive Player of the Year Award, the NBA announced today. Gasol becomes the first player in Grizzlies history to earn the honor.

Gasol received 212 of a possible 1,089 points, including 30 first-place votes, from a panel of 121 sportswriters and broadcasters throughout the United States and Canada. Miami's LeBron James (149 points, 18 first-place votes) and Oklahoma City's Serge Ibaka (122 points, 14 first-place votes) finished second and third, respectively. Players were awarded five points for each first-place vote, three points for each second-place vote and one point for each third-place vote received.

Gasol, one of only six players to average at least 1.5 blocks (1.7 bpg) and 1.0 steals (1.0 spg), led a Grizzlies defense that allowed a league-low 88.7 ppg during the regular season. According to NBA.com/Stats, Gasol's +5.4 score differential ranked second among NBA centers; additionally, Memphis enjoyed a +7.5 score differential when Gasol was on the court compared with -3.9 when he was on the bench.

As part of its support of the Most Improved Player Award, Kia Motors America (KMA) will donate a new 2014 Kia Sorento LX CUV to Gasol's charity of choice, Youth Villages, a private nonprofit dedicated to helping thousands of emotionally and behaviorally troubled children and their families live successfully. Kia Motors will present a Sorento to the charity of choice of each of five 2012-13 season-end award winners as part of "The Kia NBA Performance Awards." Following this season, Kia Motors will have donated a total of 26 new vehicles to charitable organizations since its support of the NBA's prestigious season-end honors began in 2008.