Kobe Bryant is set to be immortalized once again as a member of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall Of Fame class of 2020.
Bryant will be headlining arguably the greatest class in NBA history at this year’s enshrinement ceremony alongside two of his former competitors in Tim Duncan and Kevin Garnett. After two decades of battling it out on the court, the trio will now be part of the same group that will be joining some rather elite company.
Of course, it has been a bittersweet feeling for fans and players alike with Bryant’s tragic passing back in late January. It seems not even receiving this lifetime achievement makes one immune to the pain of his absence.
Garnett admits that the induction will have an even greater emotional aspect to it without Bryant, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic:
.@KevinGarnett5KG tells our NBA Insider @ShamsCharania about entering Hall of Fame with Kobe Bryant: "Not having Kob' is going to affect everybody. Kobe not being there is going to be super emotional." pic.twitter.com/QEpg4lGpJS
— Stadium (@Stadium) April 7, 2020
Garnett’s comments are certainly understandable considering the induction is already an emotional event to begin with. The fact that one of its most cherished and respected players is being honored posthumously only solidifies this notion.
It is safe to say these feelings are amplified by those Bryant was slated to enjoy the evening with. After all, he shared close ties with both Garnett and Duncan and this was supposed to be their time to relish in their efforts together.
Garnett had helped to set the stage for budding, young players when he became the first to be drafted directly out of high school since 1975. Bryant would follow in his footsteps a year later and the two would eventually meet as members of rivaling teams to put the stamp on their respective careers.
Bryant’s untimely death will undoubtedly loom heavily during this year’s ceremony. Fortunately, it is another opportunity to cherish the NBA’s brotherhood and help solidify the legacy of one of its own.