Magic Johnson Says It Breaks His Heart That Kobe Bryant Won't Be At Hall Of Fame Ceremony
Magic Johnson tweeted that the 2020 Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame class of 2020, which includes Kobe Bryant, Tim Duncan and Kevin Garnett, is "the greatest class to ever be inducted."
The 2020 class was announced Saturday.
Also elected: former NBA coach Rudy Tomjanovich, former WNBA star Tamika Catchings, Baylor women’s basketball coach Kim Mulkey, former Division II women’s coach Barbara Stevens, former Division I men’s coach Eddie Sutton and former FIBA executive Patrick Baumann.
Johnson tweeted a separate congratulatory message to Bryant, who led the Lakers to five NBA championships over his 20 seasons with the team. He was a two-time Finals MVP and a one-time regular season MVP in 2008.
Bryant died in a helicopter crash on Jan 26 along with his 13-year-old daughter Gianna and seven other people.
Johnson said he's heartbroken that Bryant won't be at the ceremony, which is set to take place Aug. 29 in Springfield, Massachusetts
"To my friend, Laker brother, Kobe Bryant, congratulations," Johnson said in video that aired on ESPN on Saturday. "It breaks my heart that he won't be there to receive the award himself and give a great speech. But to his wife and three daughters and his parents and two sisters, I want to say congratulations. We, as Laker fans and all the Laker players, we'll be there supporting you."
Johnson went on to also deliver a message for Tim Duncan, who led the San Antonio Spurs to five NBA championships. Duncan was a three-time Finals MVP and two-time regular season MVP.
"Tim Duncan, man, congratulations," Johnson said. "Tim Duncan was a thorn in our side when he played for the San Antonio Spurs against our Lakers, winning all those championships that Tim won. He'll go down as probably one of the greatest power forwards, if not the greatest, that's ever played."
Johnson also talked about Kevin Garnett, who led the Boston Celtics to an NBA championship in 2008, was a 15-time All-Star and was selected to the all-defensive team nine times.
"And then you have Kevin Garnett with that smile and with that toughness and leading the Celtics to a championship," Johnson said. "Kevin, I want to say congratulations to you."
Johnson went on to call Tamika Catchings "amazing" and to congratulate everybody else in the class of 2020.
Johnson is a two-time inductee into the Basketball Hall of Fame. He was enshrined in 2002 for his individual career, which included five championships with the Lakers, and also in 2010 for being a part of the "Dream Team."