The day that Kobe Bryant was announced as a first-ballot inductee into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame was supposed to be joyful; a celebration of the ultimate accomplishment of his storied NBA career.
Instead, because of Bryant’s tragic death with his daughter Gianna and seven others in a helicopter crash in January, it’s bittersweet.
Bryant, along with Tim Duncan and Kevin Garnett, was announced as a Hall of Fame inductee on Saturday. His widow, Vanessa, and their daughter, Natalia, went on ESPN to discuss Bryant’s career and what this day means to them as they’re still grieving his death.
"We're incredibly proud of him."— ESPN (@espn) April 4, 2020
Vanessa and Natalia Bryant joined Rece Davis after Kobe's induction into the Basketball Hall of Fame. pic.twitter.com/HX31pyvgPe
“It’s an incredible accomplishment and honor, and we’re extremely proud of him. Obviously, we wish that he was here with us to celebrate, but it’s definitely the peak of his NBA career. And every accomplishment he had as an athlete was a stepping stone to be here. So we’re incredibly proud of him, and there’s some solace in knowing that he was probably going to be part of the 2020 Hall of Fame class.”
Vanessa spoke emotionally but eloquently about her husband, who died two weeks before the Hall of Fame announced its eight-person list of finalists. Kobe didn’t officially know that he would be on that list, but as Vanessa said, he “probably” knew that he would be part of it.
Vanessa has continued to speak publicly about Kobe and Gianna since their deaths, allowing others to grieve the loss with her. Whenever there is a celebration of Kobe’s induction into the Hall of Fame, it will be bittersweet, but Vanessa and the entire Bryant family will radiate that pride and joy they have for Kobe and his legendary accomplishments.
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