Kobe Byrant’s legacy will be impossible to miss at the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame inductions this weekend.
Bryant was an unquestioned first-ballot Hall of Famer and will be presented for induction by Michael Jordan. Now comes word from Shams Charania of The Athletic that Kobe’s widow, Vanessa Bryant, will speak for him at the induction.
Vanessa Bryant will speak in honor of Kobe Bryant during Kobe’s Naismith Hall of Fame @Hoophall induction on Saturday. Presenters accompany inductees as they deliver their speeches. Michael Jordan will join Vanessa Bryant on stage.
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) May 12, 2021
Vanessa gave a powerful and emotional speech at Kobe’s celebration of life last year.
Kobe’s resume made him an obvious first-ballot Hall of Famer: Five-time NBA champion, two-time Finals MVP, 18-time NBA All-Star, 11-time All-NBA First Team, the 2008 NBA MVP, nine-time NBA All-Defensive First Team member, he is fourth on the NBA All-Time scoring list, plus Bryant earned two Olympic gold medals.
But those facts don’t begin to explain his legacy to a generation of men and women coming up who played the sport. Kobe was admired not only for his skills and game, but also — and maybe more so — for his drive and competitiveness. It was Kobe’s will that basketball players around the globe wanted to emulate, that people in other professions tried to bring to their games.
That is his legacy, and that’s likely what Vanessa will talk about on Saturday.
Bryant is part of one of the greatest classes in Hall of Fame history, along with Tim Duncan and Kevin Garnett, among others.