Kobe Bryant was officially inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame on Saturday night.
Bryant, and his daughter Gigi, were among those who died in a helicopter crash in California in January 2020. It was announced sooner after his death he would be enshrined into the Hall in Springfield, Massachusetts. However, the coronavirus pandemic pushed the ceremonies back to May 2021.
Michael Jordan and Vanessa Bryant were on hand to handle the ceremonies on the Los Angeles Lakers legend’s behalf. Vanessa Bryant gave a speech about her late husband.
“Kobe’s personal stats speak for themselves. Kobe was on a different le/vel. He never took shortcuts when it came to basketball. He gave this game his all. Kobe played through injury after injury, “Vanessa Bryant said in her speech.
She illustrated her husband’s toughness, recalling times he would have his finger snapped back in place and have IVs waiting for him on the bench while he played through food poisoning. Not to mention the time he tore his Achilles and still managed to nail two free throws during a game.
Bryant was an 18-time All-Star, 15-time All-NBA selection, five-time NBA champion, 12-time All-Defensive selection, four-time all-star, two-time NBA Finals MVP and 2007-08 NBA MVP.
Vanessa Bryant and her daughter Natalia wore Kobe’s Hall of Fame jacket during Friday night’s portion of the ceremonies.
Vanessa Bryant wrapped her speech with a special thank you to her husband. She received a standing ovation along with “Kobe chants” as she left the stage.
“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,” she added.
Bryant was inducted along with other fellow greats Kevin Garnett and Tim Duncan. Also in the 2020 class: former FIBA executive Patrick Baumann, WNBA star Tamika Catchings, LSU women’s basketball coach Kim Mulkey, five-time Division II Coach of the Year Barbara Stevens, former Houston Rockets coach Rudy Tomjanovich and the late former men’s college basketball coach Eddie Sutton.