Los Angeles Lakers legend Kobe Bryant was inducted posthumously to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame on Saturday, as the class of 2020 was enshrined after months of delay due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The five-time NBA champion died last year aged 41 in a helicopter crash alongside his daughter and seven others, shocking the sports world and sending thousands of fans into mourning.
Bryant’s widow Vanessa, who started dating Kobe when she was 17, offered an acceptance on his behalf as presenter Michael Jordan stood nearby.
Dear Kobe, thank you for being the best husband and father you could possibly be. Thank you for never giving up on us. Thank you for all of your hard work.
The 18-time All-Star was drafted right out of high school and would go on to enjoy one of the most decorated careers in the history of the sport, claiming NBA Finals MVP honors twice and earning the adoration of fans for his larger-than-life persona. Bryant, the fourth-highest scorer in league history with 33,643 points, grew up idolizing the five-time league MVP Jordan and the two superstars’ careers overlapped by a handful of years.
Other honorees in the 2020 class included 15-time NBA All-Star Kevin Garnett and three-time NBA Finals MVP Tim Duncan.
Copyright 2021 Thomson/Reuters