The NBA Hall of Fame has gained yet another great player.
Kobe Bryant, the late basketball star of the Los Angeles Lakers, was posthumously inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame over the weekend.
The enshrinement came one year after Bryant, his 13-year old daughter Gigi, and seven others perished in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, California.
After news broke, the world mourned the loss of the five-time NBA champion and father of four. Memorials and tributes were televised for weeks, in what seemed to be a dark road for Angelinos and basketball fans around the world.
On Saturday, Bryant, along with fellow NBA greats, Kevin Garnett and Tim Duncan, were welcomed into the Class of 2020 Hall of Fame, completing a rare group considered to be “one of the best classes” by Lakers star Lebron James.
Vanessa Bryant, Kobe’s wife, was present to deliver a speech on behalf of her late husband. “I wish my husband was here to accept this incredible award,” she said. “He and Gigi deserved to be here to witness this. Gigi would be so proud to watch her daddy get enshrined into the Basketball Hall of Fame.”
She also noted that, while she could not possibly thank all of the people who had helped Kobe on his way to stardom, those people “know who [they] are.”
“Dear Kobe, thank you for being the best husband and father you could possibly be,” Bryant went on to say. “Thank you for never giving up on us. Thank you for all of your hard work. There will never be anyone like Kobe. He was special. He was humble. He was bigger than life.”
Present at the ceremony were Kobe’s close friends and teammates, Michael Jordan, Pau Gasol, Magic Johnson, and Rob Pelinka.
Most notably, Bryant’s youngest two daughters, Bianka and Capri, were also present to listen about their father’s great accomplishments.
Vanessa Bryant ended her speech with a declaration of love: “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.”
The ceremony took place at the Mohegan Sun Resort & Casino in Uncasville, Connecticut after being postponed for a year due to the pandemic. Other inductees included Eddie Sutton, Rudy Tomjanovich, Tamika Catchings, Kim Mulkey, Barbara Stevens, and Patrick Baumann.