KOBE Bryant's wife has spoken of her pride after it was announced the NBA legend will be inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame.
The 41-year-old NBA legend along with eight others — including his daughter Gianna — died in January when the helicopter he was aboard crashed in Calabasas, California.
The NBA superstar retired in 2016 as the third-leading scorer in league history.
But Bryant will be posthumously inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame along with fellow NBA greats Tim Duncan and Kevin Garnett.
His wife Vanessa spoke of her pride that the LA Lakers star was announced in the Class of 2020.
Speaking to ESPN, she said: "It's an incredible accomplishment and honor, and we're extremely proud of him.
"Every accomplishment that he had as an athlete was a steppingstone to be here."
"Obviously we wish that he was here with us to celebrate.
"We're incredibly proud of him. And there's some solace in knowing that he was probably going to be a part of the 2020 Hall of Fame class."
“This is an incredibly special class, for many reasons,” Hall of Fame Chairman and enshrinee Jerry Colangelo said following the announcement.
The self-nicknamed “Black Mamba” finished his professional career with 33,643 points, all of which were scored as a Los Angeles Laker.
He became one of the greatest basketball players of his generation during his 20-year career with the Lakers.
Kobe won a record four NBA All-Star Game MVP awards, was the overall league MPV in 2008 and was a two-time NBA scoring champion.
He also earned 12 selections to the NBA's All-Defensive teams and two Olympic gold medals.
Lakers Vice President of Basketball Operations and General Manager Rob Pelinka said of the announcement: "This one is so well deserved — for all the hard work, sweat and toil. Now, a part of you will live in the Hall with the rest of the all-time greats, where your legend and spirit will continue to grow forever.”
The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame tweeted after Kobe’s death they were with “the rest of the basketball world in mourning the untimely passing of Kobe Bryant, a nominee for this year’s #20HoopClass and an icon of the game.”
“We offer our sincerest condolences to the Bryant Family and those affected by this tragedy.”
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said the league was “devastated by the tragic passing” of Bryant and his daughter.
“For 20 seasons, Kobe showed us what is possible when remarkable talent blends with an absolute devotion to winning.”
“He was one of the most extraordinary players in the history of our game with accomplishments that are legendary: five NBA championships, an NBA MVP award, 18 NBA All-Star selections, and two Olympic gold medals.”
Silver said Bryant “will be remembered most for inspiring people around the world to pick up a basketball and compete to the very best of their ability.”
He described the legend as “generous with the wisdom he acquired and saw it as his mission to share it with future generations of players, taking special delight in passing down his love of the game to Gianna.”
“We send our heartfelt condolences to his wife, Vanessa, and their family, the Lakers organization and the entire sports world.”
After news of Kobe’s death broke, a fan organized a Change.org petition to have the NBA’s logo changed to feature the silhouette of the 41-year-old.
The petition, started by “Nick M,” reads: “With the untimely and unexpected passing of the great Kobe Bryant please sign this petition in an attempt to immortalize him forever as the new NBA logo.”
“I hope with our effort that our dream does come true and we are able to see Kobe Bryant engraved into the NBA Logo.”
Kobe will be honored the way he should be."
Once he retired, West coached the Lakers for three seasons before moving to the front office, where he signed such greats as Magic Johnson and Shaquille O’Neal — and Bryant.
West was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 1979.
His silhouette is found all over the place in the NBA and serves as the basis of the NBA logo: a player dribbling a ball set against a red-and-blue background.
Fans on the Change.org petition were vocal about why they think the logo should feature Bryant.
“If there was ever a time for an update and to someone who deserves it and has given his entire life to basketball, is now,” one fan wrote.
Another said: “Kobe was loved world wide & helped the sport become popular all over the world.”
“There couldn’t be a better way of showing how big of a part he was in everybody’s life involved in the NBA whether officially or as a fan, than having him as the new logo on everything that’s NBA Official letting his memory live on forever.”
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