May 15 was a celebratory moment in NBA history.
Saturday evening marked the date that league greats were inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame as part of the Class of 2020. Those hoopers included Minnesota Timberwolves and Boston Celtics forward Kevin Garnett, and San Antonio Spurs forward Tim Duncan. But the moment that everyone was truly looking forward to was the honoring of Kobe Bryant, who was also being enshrined for advancing the game of basketball.
Due to his untimely death, his wife Vanessa and eldest daughter Natalia excepted the ring and jacket on his behalf.
“I wish my husband was here to accept this incredible award,” Bryant’s wife, Vanessa Bryant, said at the ceremony, as she was joined onstage by Michael Jordan. “He and Gigi deserved to be here to witness this. Gigi would be so proud to watch her daddy get enshrined into the Basketball Hall of Fame.”
Classmate Tim Duncan also paid homage to those who were ushered onto the court and found greatness around the same time he did.
“You’re at your best, when you face the best,” Duncan said. “I want to say thank you to the late, great Kobe Bryant, to KG. You guys demanded the best out of me, and it brought the best out of me. Thank you, guys.”
The 9 others inducted included WNBA’s Indiana Fever legend Tamika Catchings, coaches Kim Mulkey, Barbara Stevens, Eddie Sutton, and Rudy Tomjanovich.
Of course, Twitter showered Kobe and the rest of the inductees with praise as their greatness was recognized.