At the 17th annual Los Angeles Sports Awards on Tuesday night, Los Angeles Lakers legend Kobe Bryant posthumously being inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame was voted No. 1 on the top-10 moments of the year.
The induction was named first among nine other sports moments throughout 2021, including the Los Angeles Clippers’ first Western Conference Finals appearance and UCLA’s Final Four appearance. Fan voting was combined with rankings from a media panel to choose the Top Sports Moment of the Year.
Bryant was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in May 2021, where the basketball world united to honor the late Lakers legend. More than a year after Bryant, his daughter Gianna Bryant, and seven others died in a helicopter crash, the induction served as a reminder of Bryant’s undeniable influence on the league.
The award Tuesday night recognized not only Bryant’s achievements in the NBA, but also his ability to inspire the Los Angeles community. Other awards given throughout the night included Sportsperson of the Year, Coach of the Year and Sports Executive of the Year.
The event, presented by the Los Angeles Sports Federation, celebrates the best sports moments and personalities of the year in the greater Los Angeles area. Sports media professionals, as well as various Los Angeles teams’ players and coaches, honored the night Bryant became Hall of Fame status.
Lakers icons gathered to fill the hole left at Bryant’s Hall of Fame induction
After 20 seasons of witnessing, doubting, cheering on, obsessing over and ultimately loving Bryant’s career, Lakers fans were left with a hollow feeling following his retirement. He brought Los Angeles five championships and became synonymous with the Lakers franchise itself.
Bryant’s shocking and tragic death opened up a wound in the sports world, one that stings a little extra with every NBA anniversary or celebration. The Class of 2020 Hall of Fame induction ceremony was no different.
Michael Jordan was asked by Bryant’s wife, Vanessa, to do the honor of presenting the Lakers legend at the ceremony. Once rivals, the two icons became close friends after retirement, and Jordan was very open about his grief over Bryant’s death.
Vanessa and Bryant’s daughter, Natalia, also attended to witness the induction. Vanessa gave a heartfelt speech where she paid tribute to Bryant’s many achievements outside of the game and gave us a glimpse into Bryant as a father and husband. Natalia honored her father by wearing his Hall of Fame jacket and ring during the Tip-Off Celebration and Awards Gala.
While it was a bittersweet night, it was a welcomed reminder of the impact Bryant has had on all of us, and will continue to have on future generations.
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