Basketball fans now know who will induct Kobe Bryant into the Basketball Hall of Fame. It was announced this week that Michael Jordan will induct the late Los Angeles Lakers star in the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame Class of 2020. Bryant is among the nine honorees who will be inducted on May 15. The ceremony was pushed back from last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
"Members of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame Class of 2020 were asked to select previous inductees to accompany and present them to their peers," the press release states. "The choice is solely the decision of the incoming Hall of Famers, or their family members if recognized posthumously."
The Class of 2020 includes Bryant, longtime FIBA executive Patrick Baumann 10-time WNBA All-Star and four-time Olympic gold medalist Tamika Catchings,15-time NBA All-Star and three-time NBA Finals MVP Tim Duncan, 15-time NBA All-Star and nine-time NBA All-Defensive First Team selection Kevin Garnett, three-time NCAA National Championship Coach of Baylor Kim Mulkey, five-time Division II National Coach of the Year Barbara Stevens, four-time collegiate National Coach of the Year Eddie Sutton, and two-time NBA Champion coach Rudy Tomjanovich. The enshrinement ceremony will take place at the Mohegan Sun Arena, and more than 50 Hall of Famers are expected to be in attendance.
Bryant died at the age of 41 in a tragic helicopter crash along with his 13-year-old daughter Gianna and seven other people in January 2020. In February of that year, Jordan paid tribute to Bryant at his memorial service at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. The Chicago Bulls legend talked about the relationship he had with Bryant.
"He used to call me, text, me, 11:30, 12:30, 2:30, 3:00 in the morning talking about post moves, footwork, and sometimes the triangle," Jordan said. "At first, it was an aggravation. But then it turned into a certain passion. This kid had passion like you would never know. It's an amazing thing about passion. If you love something, if you have a strong passion for something, you would go to the extreme to try to get it."
Bryant was a member of the Lakers from 1996-2016 and led the team to five NBA Championships. He was named NBA MVP in 2008 and selected to play in the All-Star game 18 times.