“I wish my husband were here to receive this incredible award,” said Bryant’s wife Vanessa Bryant at the ceremony when she was accompanied on stage by basketball legend Michael Jordan. “He and Gigi deserve to be here to see this happen. Gigi would be so proud to see her father inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame.”
“There will never be someone like Kobe,” said Vanessa Bryant. “Kobe was unique. He was special, he was humble – out of court – but bigger than life.”
She concluded, “Congratulations, baby. All of your hard work and sacrifices have paid off.
“You did it. You’re in the Hall of Fame now. You’re a true champion. You’re not just an MVP, you’re an all-time great. I’m so proud of you. I love you forever and.” always.”
Among the nine inducted on Saturday were former Minnesota Timberwolves and Boston Celtics forward Kevin Garnett and San Antonio Spurs forward Tim Duncan, who remembered playing against his Hall of Fame classmates Garnett and Bryant.
“You’re at your best when you face the best,” said Duncan. “I want to thank the late great Kobe Bryant and KG. You asked the best of me, and it brought the best of me. Thank you guys.”
WNBA’s Indiana Fever legend Tamika Catchings was also recorded on Saturday.
“Basketball chose me,” said Catchings. “A clumsy, lanky, introverted tomboy, born with a hearing impairment, a speech impairment and a will to overcome obstacles, dream big and change the world.”
“We all have dreams and goals,” added Catchings. “And whether you are young or old, born with a disability, or have been told about the things you cannot accomplish, tonight I am sharing the same words my parents shared with me with a twist. When someone does.” can, you can. Shoot for the stars, work hard and catch your dream. “
Among the others included were trainers Kim Mulkey, Barbara Stevens, Eddie Sutton and Rudy Tomjanovich. The Swiss basketball manager Patrick Baumann was accepted posthumously by the International Committee.