Kobe Bryant was a five-time NBA champion and a former MVP of the league. He is undoubtedly one of the greatest players in the history of basketball.
Now, Bryant will posthumously be awarded with the one of the highest honors in the game as a member of the 2020 Basketball Hall of Fame class.
Shortly after the announcement, Bryant’s wife Vanessa called Bryant’s selection to the Hall of Fame the “peak of his NBA career.”
On ESPN, Vanessa Bryant says she wishes Kobe was here to celebrate, but calls the HoF "the peak of his NBA career" and the pinnacle of his basketball achievements.
— Kyle Goon (@kylegoon) April 4, 2020
Kobe joins fellow icons Tim Duncan and Kevin Garnett as well as WNBA star Tamika Catchings as the headliners of this year’s class.
Bryant was one of the nine people killed in a helicopter crash just outside of Calabasas on Jan. 26. The entire basketball community and hoards of fans around the world mourned his death. And the Lakers hosted a memorial service to commemorate Kobe and his daughter Gianna (who was also lost in the crash) on Feb. 24.
As Vanessa suggested, it is a shame Bryant will not be able to stand at that podium in Springfield, Massachusetts to give his Hall of Fame speech. Former Lakers teammate Shaquille O’Neal also lamented that notion in the days after Kobe’s death.
Of course, Kobe’s induction will also be another celebration of his life. Bryant was one of the rare players who always seemed bigger than basketball, and he sought to inspire hoards of young athletes in his retirement.
Though Bryant will not be physically present for the ceremony, his spirit will undoubtedly be carried by Vanessa and all those who aspire to greatness.