28 Jan 2020

Kobe Bryant to be inducted into Basketball Hall of Fame

11:11 am on 28 January 2020

The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame is set to bypass the normal election process and making the late Kobe Bryant the first inductee of the 2020 class.

Basketball icon Bryant, 41, died yesterday along with his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna, and seven others in a helicopter crash in California.

As an 18-time All-Star, a five-time NBA champion and the fourth-leading scorer in league history, Bryant was virtually assured of being elected on the first ballot in his first year of eligibility this year anyway.

Lakers legend Kobe Bryant.


"Expected to be arguably the most epic class ever with Kobe, Tim Duncan and Kevin Garnett," Hall of Fame chairman Jerry Colangelo said, as per a report in the Athletic.

"Kobe will be honoured the way he should be."

The other 2020 finalists will be announced next month during All-Star Weekend.

The rest of the class will be announced in April at the Final Four, and Bryant's posthumous induction will take place in Springfield, on August 29.

Meanwhile, thousands of fans have continued to gather at a shrine in Los Angeles - where Bryant spent his entire glittering 20-year NBA career - to pay tribute with a vigil outside the Staples Centre, home of his LA Lakers team.

Tributes also continued to flow in from major global sports stars.

Michael Jordan, arguably the most famous basketball player of all time, described Bryant as like his "little brother".

Former England football captain David Beckham, who played for the LA Galaxy from 2007-12 and was a friend of Bryant's, paid his own personal tribute.

Writing on his Instagram page, Beckham said: "This was one special athlete, husband, father and friend. Having to write these words is hard enough but also knowing we have lost an amazing human being and his beautiful and talented daughter Gianna is heartbreaking."

In Melbourne, Australian Open champion Novak Djokovic led the tennis world in mourning Bryan't death.

"My heart truly mourns over the news today. Kobe was a great mentor and friend to me," the Serbian world No.2 wrote.

In his own touching tribute to Bryant, huge basketball fan and Australian player Nick Kyrgios donned an LA Lakers No.8 singlet as he entered the arena before his brave four-set defeat to top seed Nadal.