Kobe Bryant, Tim Duncan among Basketball Hall of Fame 2020 class inductees

Kobe Bryant, Tim Duncan among Basketball Hall of Fame 2020 class inductees”

Los Angeles Lakers legend Kobe Bryant, in his first year of eligibility, will be posthumously inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, the NBA announced Saturday.

But since Bryant died in a January helicopter crash in Calabasas - along with his daughter Gianna and seven other people - the sport has evaluated his legacy through mourning as a ruthless competitor, a prickly teammate, one of the game's biggest winners and a dedicated father who advocated for the women's game during his 41 years.

As she sat next to their daughter, Natalia, Vanessa Bryant, 37, called her late husband's induction an "incredible" accomplishment and honor.

The second of Bryant's five titles came as the Lakers thrashed the 76ers 4-1 in 2001, which marked Iverson's first and only trip to the NBA Finals in his career.

At least 18 of the 24 anonymous voters chose the five-time NBA title victor, while three-time NBA Finals MVP Tim Duncan, 15-time NBA All-Star Kevin Garnett, two-time NBA champion coach Rudy Tomjanovich and four-time Olympic medallist Tamika Catchings are also chosen for induction.

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Bryant will be joined by the San Antonio Spurs' Tim Duncan and Kevin Garnett, who broke in with the Minnesota Timberwolves and also played with the Brooklyn Nets and won a championship with the Boston Celtics.

The Hall of Fame ceremony will take place in Springfield, Massachusetts, on August 29.

"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 victor and a champion, he gave everything he had to the game of basketball". We're incredibly proud of him and rest in solace knowing that he was probably going to be a part of the 2020 Hall of Fame class'.

"All of us can trust that this basketball Hall of Fame honor is one Kobe would, and will, deeply appreciate". His fierce competitiveness, work ethic and drive were unmatched. Bryant is easily one of the best players in National Basketball Association history and deserves to be recognized as such.

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