It will not happen in the way any of us imagined but Los Angeles Lakers legend Kobe Bryant was officially announced as an inductee into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame on Saturday.
Lakers owner Jeanie Buss and president Rob Pelinka released a statement congratulating Bryant:
The Lakers just made it official: Kobe Bryant is a Hall of Famer pic.twitter.com/p5QoRHeD3o
— Harrison Faigen (@hmfaigen) April 4, 2020
Vanessa Bryant also spoke about the honor:
Vanessa Bryant on Kobe Bryant being inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame today. "We wish that he was here with us to celebrate but it's definitely the peak of his NBA career." pic.twitter.com/cqHr0shYSL
— Arash Markazi (@ArashMarkazi) April 4, 2020
The late Bryant will be joined by rival players Kevin Garnett and Tim Duncan in the 2020 class to be enshrined this summer. Also included in the class are former coaches Rudy Tomjanovich, Eddie Sutton, Kim Mulkey, and Barbara Stevens, FIBA exec Patrick Bauman, and WNBA superstar (and childhood friend of Bryant) Tamika Catchings.
Kobe will go into the Hall of Fame as the fourth greatest scorer in NBA history as well as one of the all-time winners, having attained five championships in his 20-year career with the Lakers. He was a one-time MVP, a two-time Finals MVP, an 18-time All-Star, a 15-time All-NBA player, 12-time All-NBA defensive player and a two-time Olympics gold medalist.
All that’s left to see now is who will officially induct Bryant into the Hall of Fame. He has previously spoken in an interview about wanting either Phil Jackson or Michael Jordan – his longtime head coach and his idol – to do so. Bryant’s untimely and tragic passing has unfortunately taken away the opportunity for his friends, family and millions of fans to experience the speech he would have given in Springfield. But it will be emotional seeing those who knew him best speak on his behalf.
Congratulations to Kobe Bryant. An All-Star. An MVP. A Champion. And now, a Hall-of-Famer.