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Jeanie Buss responds to Kobe Bryant’s Hall of Fame induction

Lakers

Los Angeles Lakers legend Kobe Bryant was officially named to the 2020 Basketball Hall of Fame Class, joining fellow NBA icons Kevin Garnett and Tim Duncan as well as WNBA superstar Tamika Catchings in a loaded class.

Lakers owner Jeanie Buss reacted to the news on Saturday, noting Bryant’s competitiveness on the floor as well as his commitment to winning.

Bryant and eight others died in a helicopter accident in January. The tragedy deprived the public of a definitive global superstar, but it also inspired a number of touching remembrances and a sense of togetherness in Los Angeles.

Buss and Bryant shared a close relationship during his time with the Lakers, and she penned an open letter shortly after his death in which she likened him to a “son.”

Buss also touched on Kobe’s influence on her career as a female leader in the NBA (via NBA.com):

“You explained that you wanted to show her that women can be leaders in the NBA, just like the men. At first, it seemed like an action of a devoted father setting an example for his daughter. But in actuality — and I am positively sure you knew EXACTLY what you were doing — what you did was give me the inspiration and strength I was searching for.”

Bryant supported Buss amid a rather tense family rift that saw her wrestle away control of the Lakers from her brother, Jim Buss, in 2017.

Kobe’s impact extended far beyond the reaches of the basketball court, though Buss also made sure to pay tribute to the “Black Mamba” as one of the greatest players of all time.