Kobe Bryant, along with Kevin Garnett and Tim Duncan, has officially been elected to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.
Saturday brought heartwarming news to NBA fans across the globe during a time of great uncertainty. As legendary writer Bill Plaschke wrote for the L.A. Times,
“You can’t quarantine Kobe. The world has stopped, but the memory of Kobe Bryant pushes forward, the late legend still figuring out how to score when it matters most”.
The late, great Kobe Bryant’s career resume is impeccable and astounding. Five NBA Championship rings, 11 All-NBA First-Team Selections (the unquestioned best at his position for over a decade), 18 all-star selections (2nd most in history), 4th all-time leading scorer, one of two players (along with LeBron James) to compile more than 30,000 points, 6,000 assists and 6,000 rebounds, 122 40-point games, six 60 point games (2nd all-time), the only player with two jerseys retired by the same team, a two-time Olympic gold medallist, an Oscar winner and now finally… Kobe Bryant will officially be an NBA Hall of Famer where he rightfully belongs.
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Kobe’s widow Vanessa Bryant was interviewed with their daughter Natalia on Kobe’s induction:
“It’s definitely the peak of his NBA career and every accomplishment he had as an athlete was a steppingstone to be here.”
There is a bittersweetness to the moment as Kobe, an Oscar-winning writer and New-York Times Best-Selling Author, will not get to make what would have been a truly incredible speech from a player who was arguably the greatest of all time for an entire generation that grew up watching him.
One of Kobe’s most famous quotes is:
“It’s not the destination, it’s the journey. And if you guys can understand that, then what you’ll see happen is that you won’t accomplish your dreams. Your dreams won’t come true, something greater will.”
The daily grind Kobe put in has led to this legendary accomplishment, but it was never about the destination for him. It was all about the lasting legacy and the impact he will forever have because of that daily grind leaving no stone unturned that allowed Kobe to walk away from the game comfortable with his accomplishments able to move on.
The Hall of Fame referred to Kobe as:
“one of the greatest competitors who stepped on the court and made sure his impact was felt on both sides of the ball.”
Arguably the most underrated statistic of Kobe’s career is that not only was he a 15-time all-NBA selection meaning he was one of the top 3 at his position for three-quarters of his career, but also a 12-time all-defensive selection meaning he truly dominated every aspect of the game.
In the Lakers’ official press release when referring to Kobe, Lakers President Jeannie Buss said:
“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 champion, but he also 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.”
One of Kobe’s best friends, former agent and current Lakers General Manager Rob Pelinka closed his statement directly addressing Kobe saying:
“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.”
One thing is for sure and that is that while Kobe’s basketball career and life will be enshrined in the Hall of Fame on August 29th, 2020 the impact of his legacy has only just begun.
Kobe Bryant leads the most star-studded hall of fame class in NBA history co-headlined by two of his greatest rivals and most respected adversaries, Kevin Garnett and Tim Duncan combining between the three of them for 48 all-star selections, 11 NBA championships and four MVPs in their illustrious, legendary, impactful careers.