Los Angeles Lakers legend Kobe Bryant, in his first year of eligibility, will be posthumously inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, the NBA announced Saturday.
“He was one of the greatest competitors who stepped on the court and made sure his impact was felt on both sides of the ball. He is ranked 4th on the NBA’s career points list (33,643). We congratulate posthumously 5x NBA Champion Kobe Bryant,” the Basketball Hall of Fame tweeted Saturday.
In an interview Saturday with ESPN, Bryant’s widow Vanessa said of the Hall of Fame honor, “It’s an incredible accomplishment and honor, and we’re extremely proud of him. Obviously we wish that he was here with us to celebrate, but it’s definitely the peak of his NBA career, and every accomplishment that he had as an athlete was a stepping stone to be here. We’re incredibly proud of him.”
Bryant’s 2020 Hall of Fame class includes Kevin Garnett — whose Boston Celtics battled against Bryant’s Lakers in the 2008 and 2010 NBA Finals — as well as Tim Duncan, WNBA star Tamika Catchings, longtime Houston Rockets coach Rudy Tomjanovich and more.
“No amount of words can fully describe what Kobe Bryant meant to the Los Angeles Lakers,” Lakers president Jeanie Buss said in a statement. “Kobe was not only a proven winner and a champion, he gave everything he had to the game of basketball. His fierce competitiveness, work ethic and drive were unmatched.
Buss continued, “Those qualities helped Kobe lead us to five titles — and have now brought him to the Hall of Fame, where he will be enshrined with the greatest to have ever played the game. No one deserves it more.”
Bryant died January 26th when a helicopter carrying the Lakers star, his daughter Gianna and seven other occupants crashed outside Calabasas, California.
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