Vanessa Bryant Says Hall Of Fame Is 'Peak' Of Kobe Bryant's Career
Vanessa Bryant said Kobe being inducted into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame posthumously is the pinnacle of his career.
It was announced Saturday that Kobe along with Kevin Garnett, Tim Duncan and WNBA star Tamika Catchings will be in the 2020 class.
"It's an incredible accomplishment and honor and we're extremely proud of him," Vanessa said Saturday in a television interview with ESPN. "Obviously, we wish that he was here with us to celebrate, but it's definitely the peak of his NBA career. And every accomplishment that he had as an athlete was a stepping stone to be here, so we're incredibly proud of him. There's some solace in knowing that he was probably going to be a part of the 2020 Hall Of Fame class."
Kobe died in a helicopter crash on Jan. 26 along with his 13-year-old daughter Gianna and seven other people.
Kobe 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 over his 20 seasons with the Lakers.
Kobe 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 famously scored 62 points in three quarters in a game against Dallas in 2005. He had a career-high 81 points in a game against Toronto in 2006. He had four consecutive games in 2007 in which he scored at least 50 points. And he made two free throws after sustaining a torn Achilles' tendon in a game against Golden State in 2013.
After retiring, Bryant poured himself into storytelling. He won an Oscar in 2018 for his short film "Dear Basketball." He also took great pleasure in reliving his love for basketball through Gianna's eyes. She wanted to play in the WNBA, so Bryant became her coach.
Kobe and Gianna died as they were headed to the Mamba Sports Academy, where he was going to coach his daughter in a youth basketball game.
"God knew they couldn't be on this earth without each other," Vanessa said Kobe's and Gianna's public memorial at Staples Center on Feb. 24. "He had to bring them home to heaven together."