Kobe Bryant’s legacy will be honored on Saturday with his induction into the Pro Basketball Hall of Fame.
Bryant’s idol and close friend Michael Jordan will do the honor of presenting him during the enshrinement process. Kobe Bryant’s widow, Vanessa Bryant also will be hand for the ceremony.
Along with Bryant, players Tim Duncan, Kevin Garnett and Tamika Catchings; coaches Rudy Tomjanovich, Eddie Sutton, Kim Mulkey, Barbara Stevens and FIBA executive Patrick Baumann will be enshrined.
Bryant passed away tragically over a year ago in a helicopter crash, along with daughter Gianna and seven others.
Bryant’s accomplishments on the floor left him a no-brainer as a Hall of Fame selection:
* Five-time NBA champion
* 18-time NBA All-star
* 15-time All-NBA player
* Four-time All-Star Game MVP
* Two-time NBA Finals MVP
* 2008 NBA MVP
* Two-time Olympic Gold medalist (2008, 2012)
* Scored 81 points vs. Toronto on Jan. 22, 20006
· No. 4 scorer in NBA history
Those amazing accomplishments notwithstanding, it’s the Mamba Mentality and ultra-competitive mindset Bryant created that will be his enduring legacy.
Anthony Davis, who played with Bryant on USA Basketball and now as a Laker is charged with carrying on that legacy, talked about what the Mamba Mentality means to him this week.
“I carry that mentality all the way throughout my life now,” Davis said. “He tried to instill that in me before his passing. It’s kind of like when something happens and your like, ‘Okay, I see now.” You get it. And I get it now. Being on and off the floor, it’s a way of life, a way of thinking and your approach to everything you do in this world. And I think the entire world has adapted it a lot more since his passing. It’s a great mindset to have.”
Davis said that mindset Bryant created lives on through him and others in the league.
“I think his impact was very powerful before the tragedy,” Davis said. “And I think he became even impactful on our youth and on our generation. You can see it with everyone wearing his shoes. Even before, the way he approached the game. The way he went about his life, his work ethic was very impactful.
“For me, just being someone that’s known him since I stepped foot in the league -- all the way back to the U.S. team -- seeing everything he did on the floor and off the floor, it inspired me to follow that same path, to have that same work ethic. And then just being here in a Laker uniform is even more inspiring for me to try and continue the legacy that he built here.
“I think that goes for guys all around the league, just being able to realize the importance of his body of work on our game. For our generation, he’s the guy that everyone looked up to and wanted to be like.”
Davis recalled an example of Bryant’s unflinching, competitive nature on the floor during a game when he was still playing at New Orleans.
“I played with New Orleans and he was obviously with the Lakers,” Davis said. “They were playing in New Orleans. I was sitting on the bench and Quincy Pondexter was guarding him. I think the play before Kobe had dunked and dislocated his right shoulder. And then there was a timeout, and the next play he comes down, catches the ball in the post. No one knew it was dislocated though. He was just holding his shoulder, so I figured something was bothering him, and then he came down the next play and hit a turnaround jumper left-handed from the post.
“That always sticks in my head. For a guy to dislocate his shoulder and continue to play, come down and say, ‘F--- it, I’m going to shoot left-handed.’ I can do it. I can get a bucket with either hand is just insane to me. It’s the first time I’ve seen it. I mean, I’ve seen guys shoot left-handed, things like that. But to do it in a game when it counts and matters is just unreal. That’s one of my favorite Kobe moments, for sure.”
Check out the play below.