The late Kobe Bryant will lead a star-studded class of nine inductees into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. 🙌
Kobe, along with NBA greats Tim Duncan and Kevin Garnett, will be enshrined on Aug. 29 in Springfield, Massachusetts as part of one of the most impressive classes in Hall of Fame history.
Other soon-to-be Hall of Famers include Tamika Catchings of the Indiana Fever and coach Kim Mulkey of three-time women's NCAA champion Baylor.
While the 2020 class is filled with people who embody greatness, this year's celebration will be shrouded by sadness and bittersweetness.
Kobe and his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna aka Gigi, were among nine people who died in a helicopter crash earlier this year. Longtime NBA commissioner David Stern also passed a few weeks before after suffering from complications related to a brain hemorrhage.
During a video interview with ESPN on Saturday, Vanessa Bryant, Kobe's wife, spoke about what being selected to the Hall of Fame means for Kobe and his legacy.
"It's definitely the peak of his NBA career, and every accomplishment that he had as an athlete was a steppingstone to be here," she said.
Having won a combined 11 NBA titles across 60 total NBA seasons, Bryant, Duncan and Garnett were first ballot Hall of Fame locks as soon as they became eligible.
Here's what their outstanding résumés look like...
During his 19-year career with the San Antonio Spurs, Duncan earned five championships, was a two-time MVP and both a 15-time All-Star and All-NBA selection.
Fun fact: He's the only player in league history to start and win a title in three different decades.
For Garnett, he won a title in 2008 and an MVP award in 2004, was named to 15 All-Star teams and earned nine All-NBA selections across his 21 seasons with the Minnesota Timberwolves, Boston Celtics and Brooklyn Nets.
Fun fact: He was drafted straight out of high school as the fifth overall pick in 1995.
And do you even need to hear about Kobe's résumé to know why he belongs in the HOF?
In 20 seasons with the Los Angeles Lakers, Kobe was a five-time NBA champion, one-time MVP, 18-time All-Star and a 15-time All-NBA honoree.
Fun fact: Having spent much of his youth in Italy, Kobe was trilingual.