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As if Kobe Wasn't Already Great—It's Now Official

Bryant is among 8 finalists inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Apr 4, 2020 2:45 PM CDT

(Newser) – Kobe Bryant’s resume has yet another entry to validate his greatness: He’s now, officially, a Hall of Famer, the AP reports. And he's got plenty of elite company in the 2020 class, one that may be as glitzy as any. Bryant, who died in a helicopter crash on Jan. 26, and fellow NBA greats Tim Duncan and Kevin Garnett headlined a nine-person group announced Saturday as this year’s class of enshrinees into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. "An amazing class," Duncan said. They all got into the Hall in their first year as finalists, as did WNBA great Tamika Catchings. Others had to wait a bit longer for the good news: Two-time NBA champion coach Rudy Tomjanovich finally got his call, as did longtime Baylor women's coach Kim Mulkey.

They were the eight finalists who were announced in February, and the panel of 24 voters who were tasked to decide who merited selection wound up choosing them all. Bryant died in a helicopter crash about three weeks before the Hall of Fame said—as if there was going to be any doubt—that he was a finalist. His death stunned basketball fans everywhere and inspired waves of grief and apprecation. "Obviously, we wish that he was here with us to celebrate," said Vanessa Bryant, Kobe's wife. "But it's definitely the peak of his NBA career and every accomplishment that he had as an athlete was a steppingstone to be here. So we’re incredibly proud of him."

(Read more Kobe Bryant stories.)

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