Kobe Bryant will be posthumously inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, the organization announced on Saturday (April 4). The late NBA legend joins the 2020 class of nine inductees which include NBA Finals MVP Tim Duncan, 15-time NBA All-Star and nine-time NBA All-Defensive First Team Kevin Garnett, and 10-time WNBA All-Star and four-time Olympic gold medalist, Tamika Catchings.
“The Class of 2020 is undoubtedly one of the most historic of all time and the talent and social influence of these nine honorees is beyond measure,” John L. Doleva, President and CEO of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, said in a statement. “In 2020, the basketball community has suffered the unimaginable loss of iconic figures Commissioner David Stern and Kobe Bryant, as well as the game itself due to COVID-19.
“We have also banded together like never before in appreciation of the game and those who have made it the uniting force it is today. Today we thank the Class of 2020 for all they have done for the game of basketball and we look forward to celebrating them at Enshrinement in August.”
The 2020 class will be enshrined in the Hall of Fame on Aug. 29 in Springfield, Mass. The date falls six days after what would have been Bryant’s 42nd birthday. The retired Lakers star died in a helicopter crash in January alongside his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna “Gigi” Bryant, and seven others.
Kobe’s widow, Vanessa Bryant, called the Hall of Fame election the “peak of his NBA career” during a FaceTime call with ESPN. “It’s an incredible accomplishment and honor, and we’re extremely proud of him. Every accomplishment that he had as an athlete was a stepping stone to be here.
“Obviously we wish that he was here with us to celebrate,” Vanessa continued. “We’re incredibly proud of him. And there’s some solace in know that he was probably going to be apart of the 2020 Hall of Fame class.”
“We’re incredibly proud of him.”
Vanessa and Natalia Bryant joined Rece Davis after Kobe’s induction into the Basketball Hall of Fame. pic.twitter.com/HX31pyvgPe
— ESPN (@espn) April 4, 2020