As many know, Kobe Bryant died over the weekend. Now, news comes that Kobe Bryant will be inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame as part of the 2020 class. This follows the passing of the NBA legend, who died in a helicopter crash over the weekend. The 41-year-old former NBA superstar was flying with his daughter, Gianna, as well as Orange Coast College baseball coach John Altobelli and his family, who also died in the crash. Now, it's been revealed that Bryant will become a first-ballot hall of famer.
The news was first reported by The Athletic reporter Shams Charania. According to Charina, who shared the information on Twitter, Kobe Bryant will be enshrined in the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame later this year. Bryant had previously been listed among this year's nominees. Hall of Fame chairman Jerry Colangelo had this to say.
"Expected to be arguably the most epic class ever with Kobe, Tim Duncan and Kevin Garnett. Kobe will be honored the way he should be."
News of the accident spread across social media rapidly. Kobe Bryant was mourned by many in the sports and entertainment world. During his prosperous NBA career, Bryant won five titles before retiring in 2016. His post-basketball career was starting to take shape as well, as Bryant took home an Oscar in 2018 for his short film Dear Basketball. A spokesperson for The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame had this to say.
"The Hall of Fame joins the rest of the basketball world in mourning the untimely passing of Kobe Bryant, a nominee for the Class of 2020 and an icon of the game. We offer our sincerest condolences to the Bryant Family and all of those affected by this tragedy. We look forward to announcing our Finalists at NBA All-Star Weekend and revealing the full Class of 2020 at the NCAA Men's Final Four in April."
Nine people were killed in the crash, which happened in Calabasas, California. The official cause of the crash has yet to be determined, but foggy conditions made for low visibility, however, the helicopter did have clearance to fly. Officials have had difficulty in their recovery efforts due to the remote nature of the crash site. Those aboard the helicopter were reportedly on their way to an away basketball game.
While the vast majority of outpouring in the media and on social media has been sympathetic, many also pointed to Kobe Bryant's 2003 sexual assault case. Bryant was accused of raping a hotel employee, who was 19 at the time. Bryant admitted to the sexual encounter, but denied the allegation of assault. A civil case was settled out of court in 2005.
Kobe Bryant played his entire 20-year professional career with the Los Angeles Lakers. Bryant was an 18-time all-star and was named league MVP in 2008. Bryant is widely regarded as one of the greatest basketball players of all time. This was previously reported by E!.
Kobe Bryant will be a first-ballot enshrinement into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame class of 2020.— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) January 27, 2020
"Expected to be arguably the most epic class ever with Kobe, Tim Duncan and Kevin Garnett," HOF chairman Jerry Colangelo says. "Kobe will be honored the way he should be."
Bryant will be part of standard Hall of Fame screening process on Wednesday, with finalists in February at All-Star break and formal inductees at the Final 4 in April. https://t.co/OYFMwFIJxD— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) January 27, 2020