Kobe Bryant Named Finalist For Basketball Hall Of Fame
Kobe Bryant was named a finalist for the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame class of 2020, it was announced Friday.
Bryant spent all 20 season of his career with the Lakers. He was a five-time NBA champion, a two-time Finals MVP, a one-time regular season MVP in 2008, an 18-time All-Star and was named to the NBA All-Defensive team 12 times.
Bryant, who retired in 2016, had career averages of 25 points, 5.2 rebounds, 4.7 assists and 1.4 steals over 1,346 games.
Bryant is the Lakers' all-time leading scorer and the fourth-leading scorer in NBA history with 33,643 points. He scored at least 40 points in 122 games, had 176 double-doubles and 21 triple-doubles.
He was known for his tireless work ethic, often showing up to dark gyms before practices and staying late for marathon shooting sessions.
He famously made two free throws after sustaining a torn Achilles' tendon in a game against Golden State on April 12, 2013. He had four consecutive games in 2007 in which he scored at least 50 points. He scored 62 points in three quarters in a game against Dallas in 2005. And he had a career-high 81 points in game against Toronto in 2006.
"He had zero flaws offensively, zero," LeBron James said of Bryant on Jan. 25. "You backed off of him, and he could shoot the three. You body him up a little bit, and he'd go around you. He could shoot the midrange, he could post, he could make free throws. He had zero flaws offensively. That's something I admired as well, just being at a point where the defense will always be at bay, where they can't guard you at all. We just felt like he was immortal offensively because of his skillset and his work ethic."
Bryant, 41, died in a helicopter crash on Jan. 26 with his 13-year-old daughter Gianna and seven other people. There will be a public memorial for Bryant and Gianna at Staples Center on Feb. 24.
Former NBA stars Tim Duncan and Kevin Garnett are also on the ballot, along with former WNBA star Tamika Catchings. Kim Mulkey, Rudy Tomjanovich, Barbara Stevens and Eddie Sutton are finalists as coaches.
Finalists need a minimum of 18 of 24 votes from the honors committee to gain induction to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. The class of 2020 will be announced in April.