Los Angeles Lakers legend Kobe Bryant was officially elected into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame class of 2020 on April 4.
With Bryant tragically passing along with his daughter Gianna Bryant and seven other passengers on January 26, the Lakers released a statement.
“No amount of words can fully describe what Kobe Bryant meant to the Los Angeles Lakers,” said Lakers owner Jeanie Buss to start her statement.
“Kobe was not only a proven winner and a champion, 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.”
Originally the No. 13 pick in the 1996 NBA Draft by the Charlotte Hornets, a 17-year-old Bryant was eventually traded to the Lakers for Vlade Divac.
During Bryant’s 20 seasons with the Lakers, he won five NBA championships.
Kobe Bryant, Los Angeles #Lakers:
5X NBA champion,
2X NBA Finals MVP,
1X NBA MVP,
18X NBA All-Star,
4X NBA All-Star Game MVP,
11X All-NBA First Team,
9X NBA All-Defensive First Team,
2X NBA scoring champion,
1X NBA Slam Dunk Contest champion,
1X Oscars winner,
& 1X Emmy winner. pic.twitter.com/dfkzuFVUPY
— Dan Duangdao (@DanDuangdao) November 18, 2019
With the Lakers retiring Bryant’s Nos. 8 and 24 jerseys during the 2017-18 NBA season, his next stop was always Springfield once he became eligible.