Kobe Bryant Officially Inducted In The Basketball Hall Of Fame + Michael Jordan, Vanessa & Natalia Bryant Honor His Legacy

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Kobe Bryant has officially been inducted into the 2020 Basketball Hall of Fame class where he was honored by NBA icon Michael Jordan, his widow Vanessa Bryant and his eldest daughter Natalia Bryant.

The 2020 Basketball Hall of Fame Class was originally planned to take place eight months ago. However, the COVID-19 pandemic put a delay on the ceremony.

With restrictions lifting across the nation, basketball icons and their families filled the Mohegan Sun Arena in Connecticut to honor the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame Class of 2020 inductees.

Standing before an audience of basketball lovers, Vanessa Bryant delivered a moving acceptance speech on behalf of her late husband Kobe Bryant, who won five NBA titles and was an 18-time All-Star. The NBA icon died in a helicopter crash along with his 13-year-old daughter Gianna “Gigi” Bryant and seven others on January 26, 2020.

On stage, NBA icon stood alongside Vanessa as she reflected on her husband’s legacy.

“Last February, I called Michael and asked if he would introduce Kobe tonight and he graciously accepted. Thank you for being here, Michael. Kobe admired you, this means so much to us,” Vanessa said to Jordan.

“Right now, I’m sure he’s laughing in heaven, because I’m about to praise him in public,” she continued.

Touching on his sheer determination, Vanessa shared a story about how Kobe was inspired by Michael Jordan when he was younger.

“People don’t know this but one of the reasons my husband played through injuries and pain was because he remembered being a little kid sitting in the nosebleeds with his dad to watch his favorite player play,” she said while looking at Jordan.

“He could recall the car ride, the convos and the excitement of being lucky enough to have a seat in the arena. Kobe didn’t want to disappoint his fans, especially the ones in the 300 sections that saved up to watch him play. The kids with the same excitement he once had. I remember I asked him why he couldn’t sit a game out because he was hurting, he said, ‘What about the fans who saved up to watch me play just once?’ He never forgot about his fans. If he could help it, he would play every minute of every game, he loved you all so much,” she said.

This may come as a shocker to some, but Vanessa made sure to acknowledge Kobe’s estranged parents, Pam and Joe, and Kobe’s sister Sharia. No mention of his sister Shayla.

”Pam and Joe, thank you for raising Kobe to be exceptional. Thank you to all of Kobe’s family. Sharia, you’ve gone above and beyond. I love you,” she said.

“There will never be anyone like Kobe. Kobe was one of a kind. He was special. He was humble — off the court — but bigger than life.”

Vanessa thanked all of her close family and friends who have been there for her and her girls following Kobe & Gigi’s sudden death.

Peep her touching speech below:

Leading up to ceremony, Jordan shared his last text message conversation he had with Kobe:

In addition to Kobe’s being inducted, the Class of 2020 featured Tim Duncan, Kevin Garnett, Eddie Sutton, Rudy Tomjanovich, Tamika Catchings, Kim Mulkey, Barbara Stevens and Patrick Baumann.


In the stands, LaLa Anthony was spotted behind Vanessa as she chopped it up with Connecticut coach Geno Auriemma, before the 2020 Basketball Hall of Fame enshrinement ceremony.



Both Kevin Garnett and Tim Duncan talked about their relationship with Kobe during their speeches:


Before Saturday’s ceremony, a news conference was held where Kobe’s eldest daughter, Natalia Bryant, wore his Hall of Fame jacket:




Before this weekend’s events, Vanessa gave fans a sneak peek at Kobe’s Basketball Hall of Fame exhibit. Check them out below:




1. Former Pistons baller Ben Wallace to be inducted into Basketball Hall of Fame’s Class of 2021. STORY

Photos: AP Photo/Kathy Willens

Written by: theybf

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