Bryant and eight others have been selected for the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, officials said. Tim Duncan, longtime San Antonio Spurs forward, and former Minnesota forward Timberwolves and Boston Celtics Kevin Garnett will also be inducted.
The winners will be officially announced August 29 in Springfield, Massachusetts. The finalists needed 18 of the 24 votes from the honors committee to be elected.
The Lakers’ longtime guard died in a helicopter crash on January 26, which also killed his daughter, Gianna, and seven others. A memorial service was held for the Bryants on February 24 at the Staples Center.
Los Angeles Lakers owner Jeanie Buss called Bryant “proven winner” in a statement
“He gave everything he had to the game of basketball. His fierce competitiveness, work ethic and drive were second to none, “said Buss in the release. “These qualities helped Kobe lead us to five titles – and have now brought him to the Hall of Fame, where he will be enshrined with the best for ever playing the game. No one deserves it anymore. “
Five-time NBA champion and double MVP finalist also received another honor when NBA Commissioner Adam Silver announced that the All-Star MVP is now named the Kobe Bryant MVP Award, honoring his 18 appearances in the game.
“It seemed like the appropriate way to honor him,” said Silver during the NBA All-Star Weekend in February.
Baylor’s longtime female basketball coach Kim Mulkey, who has led the Bears to three NCAA titles, and 10 times the WNBA Tamika Catchings, was also elected to the Basketball Hall of Fame.
Bryant was a great defender of women’s basketball because Gianna was interested in the sport he has dominated in his career. In an interview with CNBC on January 17, San Antonio Spurs assistant coach Becky Hammon, who played eight seasons in the WNBA, praised Bryant’s appreciation for the female hoops.
“He got more involved and just started to be that voice for so many women who maybe didn’t have a loud voice or as big or as strong or who carried as much weight as his, and who still do Said Hammon. “The women’s game lost a real defender and someone who truly believed that women could do anything. “
John Doleva is the CEO of the Basketball Hall of Fame. He called the 2020 class “one of the most historic of all time.”
Doleva said: “We thank the 2020 class for all they have done for the basketball game and we look forward to celebrating them at Enshrinement in August. “