Kobe Bryant selected for Basketball Hall of Fame

first_imgRelatedPosts President Buhari assents to Police Bill, 2020 Why it’s uncharitable to crucify Malami for ‘amending’ NBA rules, by Kayode Ajulo Sam Adeyemi to Gunners: Everything doesn’t go downward same time Kobe Bryant has been remembered as an amazing husband and a passionate advocate for women’s basketball at a memorial service for the NBA star and his daughter Gianna. Bryant’s resume has yet another entry to validate his greatness: He’s now, officially, a Hall of Famer. And he’s got plenty of elite company in the 2020 class, one that may be as glitzy as any. Bryant, who died in a helicopter crash on January 26, and fellow NBA greats Tim Duncan and Kevin Garnett headlined a nine-person group as this year’s class of enshrines into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. “An amazing class,” Duncan said. They all got into the Hall in their first year as finalists, as did WNBA great Tamika Catchings. Others had to wait a bit longer for the good news: Two-time NBA champion coach Rudy Tomjanovich finally got his call, as did longtime Baylor women’s coach Kim Mulkey, 1000-game winner Barbara Stevens of Bentley and three-time Final Four coach Eddie Sutton. They were the eight finalists who were announced in February, and the panel of 24 voters who were tasked to decide who merited selection wound up choosing them all. Also headed to the Hall this year: former FIBA Secretary General Patrick Baumann, selected as a direct-elect by the international committee. Bryant died about three weeks before the Hall of Fame said – as if there was going to be any doubt – that he was a finalist. Duncan and Garnett were also widely perceived to be locks to be part of this class; they were both 15-time NBA All-Stars, and Bryant was an 18-time selection. Bryant’s death has been part of a jarring start of the year for basketball: Commissioner Emeritus David Stern died on January 1, Bryant and his daughter Gianna were among nine who died in the crash in late January, and the NBA shut down March 11 as the coronavirus pandemic began to grip the US. “Obviously, we wish that he was here with us to celebrate,” Vanessa Bryant, Kobe’s wife, said on the ESPN broadcast of the class announcement. “But it’s definitely the peak of his NBA career and every accomplishment that he had as an athlete was a steppingstone to be here. So we’re incredibly proud of him.” Bryant was also a five-time champion with the Los Angeles Lakers, just as Duncan was with the San Antonio Spurs. “This is an incredibly special class, for many reasons,” Colangelo said. Garnett is the only player in NBA history with at least 25,000 points, 10,000 rebounds, 5,000 assists, 1,500 blocks and 1,500 steals. He also was part of Boston’s 2008 NBA title. “This is the culmination,” Garnett said. “All those hours … this is what you do it for, right here. To be able to be called ‘Hall of Famer’ is everything.” Duncan spent the entirety of his career with the Spurs, and is now back with the team as an assistant coach under Gregg Popovich. “It’s kind of the end of the journey here,” Duncan, on the broadcast, said of his enshrinement. “It was an incredible career that I enjoyed so much. To call it a dream come true isn’t even doing any justice to it. I never dreamt I’d be at this point.” Duncan, Garnett and Bryant were similar in many ways as players: The longevity of their careers, the eye-popping numbers, almost perennial inclusion on award lists. They also shared a dislike for touting personal accomplishments. But even the Hall would have touched Bryant, those closest to him said. “No one deserves it more,” Lakers Governor Jeanie Buss said.Tags: 2020BasketballHall of FameKobe BryantNBAlast_img