Kobe Bryant was formally inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame on Saturday. Michael Jordan presented Bryant, who died in a helicopter crash in January 2020, before Bryant's wife, Vanessa Bryant, gave a touching tribute commemorating the former Laker.
Bryant becomes only the second player (Jordan is the other) to be enshrined in his first year of eligibility. He had long been expected to be voted in by the players, and received more than 90% of the vote from those members of the National Basketball Association (NBA) who were present at last month's annual meeting in New York City. The remaining votes were granted posthumously.
Bryant, who was born on July 9, 1978, in Philadelphia, was selected third overall by the Los Angeles Lakers in the 1997 NBA draft. He immediately became one of the best players in the league, winning three consecutive MVP awards between 2000 and 2002. As well as being one of only two players to have their numbers retired by both the Lakers and the Charlotte Hornets, Bryant is also one of just six people to have won Olympic gold medals with different countries. The others are Jesse Owens, Bob Schaffer, Bill Russell, Larry Bird and Michael Jordan.
He played his final game for the Lakers in June 2016, after which he joined the then-San Antonio Spurs as a free agent.
On Saturday night, Kobe Bryant was formally admitted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame as a member of the Class of 2020. "I wish my husband was here to collect this great honor," Bryant's wife, Vanessa Bryant, said onstage with basketball star Michael Jordan. "But I'm sure he's looking down on me and knows what a big part of me being here is because of him." The two-time NBA champion and five-time Olympic gold medalist was introduced by his daughter, Bianka, who spoke about her father being given "the ultimate accolade: immortality."
Bryant's numbers are incredible. He has won five championships with three different teams, making him one of just eight players to do so. He also owns the record for most points in a game (50), a record that will likely never be broken. And finally, he is the all-time leading scorer in National Basketball Association history (24,976 points).
Bryant was born on January 4th, 1977 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He grew up in Newport Coast, California and started playing basketball when he was 5 years old. In 1995, at the age of 19, he entered the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill where he played four seasons before entering the 1997 NBA draft. He was selected second by the Los Angeles Lakers, with whom he won two championships, in 1999 and 2000.
Michael Jordan was in attendance for Kobe Bryant's induction into the Basketball Hall of Fame, but Vanessa Bryant delivered the speech. Jordan was Bryant's hero during his great playing career.
Bryant passed away on January 26, 2020 at the age of 41 after suffering a brain injury in a collision with another vehicle back in January 2016. He had two children with Vanessa Bryant: a son named Capri and a daughter named Gianna.
During his speech, Jordan praised Bryant as one of the greatest players in NBA history. He also thanked everyone for their thoughts and prayers during this difficult time.
This is not the first time that Jordan has shown up at someone else's event. Earlier this year, it was reported that Jordan showed up to help Antonio Brown deal with the aftermath of his infamous feud with President Trump.
It seems like Jordan is used to showing up to events where there are no cameras around. It's possible that he made an appearance without anyone knowing about it.
The Lakers won the title in Philadelphia's First Union Center, which is also Kobe Bryant's hometown. Bryant was noticeably angry and hesitant during the post-game interview, but he went out of his way to thank his wife, Vanessa, for her support.
Kobe said afterward that he had been dealing with a sore ankle and that he felt worse after the game. He also admitted that he was upset with himself for hurting Vanessa's feelings when he told her he was done playing basketball months before they announced their divorce.
Kobe said that he wanted to continue playing but that the team needed him to be healthy if they were going to repeat as champions. He decided to call it quits after they failed to win the title last season when he suffered a torn Achilles' tendon.
He argued that he was still able to play through the injury this year but that the coaches didn't see it that way. As a result, he refused to talk to them or attend any of the playoff games. When asked why he wasn't happy about winning the title if these were issues that were causing problems in his marriage, Kobe said that things happened between he and Vanessa that they would rather not discuss publicly.
Kobe said that he was trying to move on from basketball but that there were still many miles left on his career to be played.
Newport Beach's Pacific View Memorial Park Kobe Bryant's Burial Site The NBA icon and his daughter, Gianna Bryant, were killed in a helicopter crash on January 26 in Calabasas, California, along with seven other people. Kobe Bryant and Gianna were buried together in a private service at Pacific View Memorial Park in Corona Del Mar.
Kobe was only 39 years old. He's buried next to his daughter because she wanted to be with her father. His family said he had two daughters and a son with his wife Vanessa.
Vanessa wrote an open letter about Kobe's death. In it, she thanked people for their support and said that they would be going through a hard time but that they needed to keep Kobe and Gianna in their thoughts and prayers.
After his death, many people asked how much money Kobe made. The answer is that we will never know because he took care of everything regarding his business affairs and there was no will published by him before he died.
What is unusual about Kobe's burial site is that it's in the same park as Donald Sterling's grave. They both passed away in April 2015.
Sterling was the former owner of the Los Angeles Clippers basketball team. He died in hospital after being found guilty of making racist remarks.
Former Kobe Bryant teammates attend a moving L.A. memorial for the late NBA star. Shaquille O'Neal, Lamar Odom, and Derek Fisher all attended the memorial service for Kobe, 41, and his daughter Gianna, 13, who were killed in a helicopter crash on Jan. 26. Fisher was drafted by Bryant out of Connecticut and played with him from 1996-2001 before going on to win two championships with the Miami Heat.
Odom was married to Lisa Bostock at the time of his death. They have three children together: Destiny, 18; Diamond, 15; and Jade, 12.
Bryant and Odom played together from 1996-2001 with the Los Angeles Lakers, when Bryant brought him over from the Phoenix Suns. The two were close friends and often traveled together during that time, including playing on one season (2000-01) with the Shanghai Sharks of the Chinese Basketball Association.
After leaving China, they returned to the United States where they both played for the Lakers again. Odom averaged 16.8 points per game last season and was named an All-Star for the first time in his career. He also won the Three-Point Contest at this year's All-Star Game.
Bryant retired after the 2016-17 season having finished with 584 victories in his career. He then joined the Lakers' coaching staff as an assistant under Luke Walton.