Kobe Bryant formally inducted into Hall of Fame in postponed ceremony

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Kobe Bryant has been posthumously inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.

The five-time NBA champion died, aged 41, in a helicopter crash in January 2020 alongside his 13-year-old daughter Gianna and seven others.

He was presented at the ceremony in Connecticut by NBA great Michael Jordan and his widow, Vanessa, accepted his induction on his behalf.

In a speech, she said: “You did it, you’re in the Hall of Fame now.”

Vanessa Bryant added: “You’re a true champ. You’re not just an MVP, you are an all-time great. I’m so proud of you. I love you forever and always, Kobe Bean Bryant.”

Los Angeles Lakers great Bryant retired in 2016; he was the NBA Most Valuable Player in 2008, was Finals MVP twice and earned 18 All-Star selections.

He was in the United States team that won Olympic gold in 2008 and 2012.

The 2020 Hall of Fame enshrinement ceremony was delayed by a year because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Tim Duncan, a five-time NBA champion with the San Antonio Spurs, and Kevin Garnett, who helped the Boston Celtics win the championship in 2008, were among the other inductees.

Each inductee is given 10 minutes for their acceptance speech, but the clock was turned off for Vanessa Bryant, who was later joined on stage by her youngest daughters Capri and Bianka.

“I know Kobe was really looking forward to being here,” she said. “He didn’t really talk about upcoming awards, but he did mention this one a week before he and Gigi passed.

“If my husband were here tonight, he would have a long list of people to thank who helped inspire him and get him into the Hall of Fame. At the risk of leaving anyone out, I can only say, ‘Thank you.’ To all those who helped him get here, you know who you are.”

She added: “There will never be anyone like Kobe. Kobe was one of a kind. He was special. He was humble – off the court – but bigger than life.”

An on-screen tribute to Kobe Bryant during the Hall of Fame Enshrinement Ceremony

Kobe Bryant is honoured during a performance by Ne-Yo.

BBC

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