It was a foregone conclusion regardless of Sunday’s (January 26) tragic event.
Kobe Bryant will be a first-ballot selection into the Basketball Hall of Fame this year, according to chairman Jerry Colangelo.
Bryant’s candidacy is in its first year of eligibility and he was set to enter the Hall in one of the more illustrious classes ever. Along with Bryant, the 2019 class should include: Tim Duncan, Kevin Garnett, Tamika Catchings and Swin Cash.
Now, the celebratory night later this year will have a more somber tone than it normally would. As Bryant will be inducted posthumously.
The Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame will undoubtedly do something very special to honor the late NBA legend, who tragically died along with his 13-year-old daughter and seven other passengers on Sunday.
If Bryant were still alive, he would’ve wanted Michael Jordan or Phil Jackson to be the ones to present him on induction night. Bryant referred to both men as his “greatest mentors.”
In a 2017 interview with Complex, Bryant said:
“In terms of who might present, for me it's two people: Michael Jordan or Phil Jackson. They've been the greatest mentors, not only in my career as an athlete, but also as a person. And what I might say is just a lot of thank yous. 'Cause I've had a lotta help along the way. A lotta lotta help."
Jackson of course coached Bryant and the Los Angeles Lakers to five NBA championships. Coincidentally, he also coached Jordan to his six NBA championships with the Chicago Bulls.
Jordan, of course, is the NBA player Bryant’s entire game and early aesthetic was modeled after.
(Photo: VINCENT LAFORET/AFP via Getty Images)