Kobe Bryant, alongside basketball legends Kevin Garnett and Tim Duncan, has been inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.
The LA Lakers legend, who tragically died in a helicopter accident earlier this year, has been inducted with a stacked class, including women's legend Tamika Catchings and two-time NBA champion coach Rudy Tomjanovich.
His wife Vanessa, speaking to ESPN, said that everything Bryant achieved and accomplished during his 20-year NBA career 'was a stepping stone to get to the Hall of Fame'.
Vanessa Bryant on Kobe Bryant being inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame today. "We wish that he was here with us to celebrate but it's definitely the peak of his NBA career." pic.twitter.com/cqHr0shYSL
— Arash Markazi (@ArashMarkazi) April 4, 2020
In order to be eligible for induction to the Basketball Hall of Fame, you must be retired from the role you're nominated as for at least three full years. The trio of Bryant, Garnett and Duncan all retired at the end of the 2015/16 season, making it arguably one of the strongest induction classes in history.
Bryant's credentials for getting to the Hall of Fame speak for themselves. A five-time NBA champion with the LA Lakers, the shooting-guard won one regular season MVP alongside two NBA Finals MVP trophies. Bryant was an 18-time NBA All-Star and ended his career with 33,643 points, good enough for fourth on the NBA's all-time scoring list.
Also in the class is two-time MVP Tim Duncan. The personification of the San Antonio Spurs, the 'Big Fundamental' played for the Texas franchise for 15 years, winning five NBA titles and three NBA Finals MVPs in the process. Duncan was a 15-time NBA All-Star, and was previously inducted in the College Basketball Hall of Fame for his four-year career at Wake Forest before entering the NBA Draft in 1997.
Kevin Garnett is another NBA regular season MVP, winning the award in 2004 with the Minnesota Timberwolves. Garnett is the only one of the three male player inductees to have played for more than one franchise, lining out for the Timberwolves, Boston Celtics and Brooklyn Nets during his 21-year career. Garnett's finest moments came on the parquet floors in Boston, winning an NBA title in 2008. Well, either that, or his star turn in Uncut Gems.
The induction ceremony in Springfield, Massachusetts is still set to take place on 29 August. If the pandemic forces that to be delayed, there is an alternate plan for a ceremony to happen in October, according to Hall chairman Jerry Colangelo.