Kobe Bryant headlines the 2020 Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame class, which his widow Vanessa considers the “peak of his NBA career.”
Kobe and his 13-year-old daughter, Giannia, were among nine people killed in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, California, on Jan. 26.
Bryant was 41 and in the first year of eligibility for the HOF.
Speaking with her daughter Natalia by her side, Vanessa Bryant said, “It’s an incredible accomplishment and honor, and we’re extremely proud of him. Every accomplishment that he had as an athlete was a steppingstone to be here.”
Vanessa and Kobe Bryant were married for 19 years. They had four daughters: Natalia is 17, Bianka is 3 and Capri is 9 months.
“No amount of words can fully describe what Kobe Bryant meant to the Los Angeles Lakers,” said Lakers Governor Jeanie Buss. “Kobe was not only a proven winner and a champion, he gave everything he had to the game of basketball. His fierce competitiveness, work ethic and drive were unmatched. Those 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 greatest to have ever played the game. No one deserves it more.”
“Kobe was always one to downplay his professional accomplishments – MVPs, NBA championships, gold medals, Oscars, and on and on and on,” said Lakers Vice President of Basketball Operations and General Manager Rob Pelinka. “But all of us can trust that this Basketball Hall of Fame honor is one Kobe would, and will, deeply appreciate. The highest of congratulations to you, dear friend. This one is so well deserved — for all the hard work, sweat and toil. Now, a part of you will live in the Hall with the rest of the all-time greats, where your legend and spirit will continue to grow forever.”