NBA superstar Kobe Bryant will be inducted into the Hall of Fame in recognition of his achievements in basketball.
A five-time NBA champion, Kobe Bryant died in a helicopter crash in January with eight others including his 13-year-old daughter Gianna.
The group were flying to a basketball tournament where Gianna was to play.
The 41-year-old played his entire two-decade career with the Los Angeles Lakers before retiring in 2016.
In that time, he wracked up 18 All-Star selections, an NBA Most Valuable Player and is now the NBA’s fourth highest all-time scorer.
He was also a member of Team USA when they won Olympic gold in 2008 and 2012.
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver described Bryan’s death as “unspeakable” and said the league was keen to “honour” him.
He added: “Kobe Bryant is synonymous with the BNA All-Star and embodies the spirit of this global celebration of our game.
“He always relished the opportunity to compete with the best of the best and perform at the highest level for millions of fans around the world.”
His wife Vanessa Bryant has also hailed her husband’s achievements after the announcement.
Speaking to ESPN, she 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 stepping stone to be here.
“Obviously we wish that he was here with us to celebrate. We’re incredibly proud of him.
“And there’s some solace in knowing that he was probably going to be a part of the 2020 Hall of Fame class.”
Kobe Bryant one of seven inductees
Kobe was one of seven players who were announced on Saturdays as Hall of Fame inductees.
The other members of the 2020 class were Tim Duncan, Kevin Garnett, Eddie Sutton, Rudy Tomjanovich, Tamika Catchings, Kim Mulkey and Barbara Stevens.
Bryant, Garnett, Duncan and WNBA legend Catchings all got into the Hall of Fame in their first year of eligibility.
LA Lakers Governor Jeanie Buss paid tribute to Bryant in the wake of the announcement, saying: “No amount of words can fully describe what Kobe Bryant meant to the Los Angeles Lakers.
“Kobe was not only a proven winner and a champio, 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.”
The enshrinement ceremony in Springfield, Massachusetts, is scheduled for Augst 29 with a tentative plan for an October ceremony should the coronavirus pandemic cause delays.
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