NBA legend Kobe Bryant will be inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.
Bryant, who died in a helicopter crash in January, is among nine honorees in the 2020 class, according to an announcement put out on Saturday. He joins NBA stars Tim Duncan and Kevin Garnett; NBA coaches Eddie Sutton and Rudy Tomjanovich; WNBA star Tamika Catchings; NCAA coaches Kim Mulkey and Barbara Stevens; and Patrick Baumann, the former secretary general of the International Basketball Federation, who died in 2018.
Vanessa Bryant talked about her late husband’s election into the hall of fame alongside their daughter, Natalia, during an interview with ESPN.
“It’s an incredible accomplishment and honor and we’re extremely proud of him,” Vanessa Bryant said. “Obviously we wish that he was here with us to celebrate, but it’s definitely the peak of his NBA career and every accomplishment that he had as an athlete was a stepping stone to be here.”
The Los Angeles Lakers legend; their 13-year-old daughter, Gianna; and seven others were killed in the helicopter crash in Calabasas, California, on Jan. 26.
John L. Doleva, President and CEO of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, said in a statement that the class of 2020 is “undoubtedly one of the most historic of all time.”
“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,” he said. “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.”
The NBA and WNBA are among the leagues that have suspended their seasons due to the coronavirus crisis.
The enshrinement ceremony for the hall of fame induction is scheduled for Aug. 29 in Springfield, Massachusetts, though the Associated Press reported that there is a tentative plan for October, should the coronavirus pandemic cause a delay.
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