On Saturday, May 15, the Basketball Hall of Fame inducted a star-studded 2020 class which included Kevin Garnett (15-time All Star, 2003 MVP), Tim Duncan (15-time All Star, 3x MVP), Tamica Catchings (10-time All Star, 12 consecutive playoff appearances), and none other than Kobe “Bean” Bryant. Kobe passed unexpectedly in early 2020 in a helicopter crash, which also claimed the lives of eight others, including his daughter, Gianna Bryant.
The first two presenters were six-time NBA champion Michael “Air” Jordan and Kobe’s lovely wife Vanessa Bryant. Jordan has often said that he was Kobe’s mentor, but the relationship turned into one of him being like a big brother to the phenom. During the 1998 All Star game, Jordan can be seen saying, “That Laker kid doesn’t let the game come to him, he gone take it.” in reference to Kobe in a clip included in Jordan’s “The Last Dance” documentary.
The late NBA player’s wife was accompanied by their two daughters Bianka Bryant, 4, and Capri Bryant, 21 months. She then proceeded to give a heartfelt speech that she concluded by saying, "Congratulations, baby. All of your hard work and sacrifice has paid off." Vanessa continued, "You once told me, ‘If you're going to bet on someone, bet on yourself.’ I'm glad you bet on yourself, you overachiever. You did it. You're in The Hall of Fame now. You're a true champ. You're not just an MVP. You're an all-time great. I'm so proud of you. I love you forever and always, Kobe. Bean. Bryant."
She also helped design Kobe’s Hall of Fame room which included iconic pictures and memorabilia from the star’s career.
Kobe was a 5-time NBA champion, a 2-time Finals MVP, and an 18-time All Star, once scoring 81 points in one game. Kobe’s basketball journey led to the sport’s highest honor. Even though he was not there to see it, his legacy is sure to be forever remembered.