The Basketball Hall of Fame 2020 class has been officially revealed with the late Kobe Bryant leading the way as a posthumous entry.
Also heading into the Naismith Memorial is a legend of women’s basketball and the WNBA, Tamika Catchings, along with two other NBA All-Stars amongst the group.
Kobe Bryant to enter Hall of Fame as part of 2020 class
The official press release stating that Kobe Bryant will enter the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame came on Friday via the NBA website.
During his superstar career, Kobe Bryant was an 18-time NBA All-Star, 11-time All-NBA First Team selection, and five-time NBA Champion. He’s fourth all-time in terms of points scored by players through their NBA career.
Bryant tragically passed away this past January in a helicopter crash in Calabasas. It came as a shock to the sports world with Kobe honored by the Lakers, at a public memorial on national television, and at the NBA All-Star Game.
He’ll now headline the upcoming Hall of Fame class for a year where all sports have been on hold due to the coronavirus pandemic.
What a journey it's been. Welcome to the Hall of Fame, Kobe. pic.twitter.com/4tLIttRyaW
— Los Angeles Lakers (@Lakers) April 4, 2020
Kobe’s widow Vanessa Bryant and daughter Natalia appeared on ESPN’s SportsCenter to give their reaction to the news.
“It’s an incredible accomplishment and honor and we’re extremely proud of him,” Vanessa Bryant said with regards to the news of Kobe becoming a member of the 2020 HOF class.
“Obviously we wish that he was here with us..to celebrate,” Vanessa added.
“Every accomplishment he had as an athlete was a stepping stone to be here. So, we’re incredibly proud of him,” she told ESPN.
Who else is in the HOF 2020 Class?
Four-time Olympic gold medalist and 10-time WNBA All-Star Tamika Catchings will also enter the Hall of Fame. Catchings played with the University of Tennessee during her college career and then was a star with the WNBA’s Indiana Fever.
During her WNBA career, Catchings, who won a WNBA Championship in 2012, is also the league’s all-time steals leader and a 10-time WNBA All-Defensive First Team member.
Catchings appeared on ESPN to give her reaction to the news that she’s the first Lady Vol headed into the Naismith HOF.
There are also a pair of 15-time NBA All-Star players heading into the Hall. Four-time NBA champion and three-time NBA Finals MVP Tim Duncan and nine-time NBA All-Defensive First Team selection Kevin Garnett will join Kobe and Catchings.
Duncan won all of his titles with the Spurs, a team he spent his entire career with, while KG captured a title with the Boston Celtics.
Others who are part of the 2020 class include two-time NBA champion head coach Rudy Tomjanovich, three-time NCAA National Championship coach Kim Mulkey from Baylor, and four-time National Coach of the Year in college, Eddie Sutton.
The 2020 class will officially be enshrined at the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame on Saturday, August 29, 2020, in Springfield, Massachusetts.