“I wish my husband was there to accept this incredible award,” Bryant’s wife Vanessa Bryant said at the ceremony, as she was joined on stage by basketball legend Michael Jordan. “He and Gigi deserved to be here to witness this. Gigi would be so proud to see her dad entered the Basketball Hall of Fame.”
“There will never be anyone like Kobe,” Vanessa Bryant said. “Kobe was one of a kind. He was special, he was humble – off the pitch – but larger than life.”
She concluded, “Congratulations baby. All of your hard work and sacrifices have paid off.
“You did. You are now in the Hall of Fame. You are a true champion. You are not just an MVP, you are an all-time great. I am so proud of you. I love you. Forever and ever.”
Among the nine inductees on Saturday were former Minnesota Timberwolves and Boston Celtics forward Kevin Garnett and San Antonio Spurs forward Tim Duncan, who recalled playing against his Hall of Fame classmates. Garnett and Bryant.
“You are at your best, when you are facing the best,” Duncan said. “I want to thank the late, great Kobe Bryant, at KG. You demanded the best of me, and that brought out the best in me. Thanks, guys.”
WNBA Indiana Fever legend Tamika Catchings was also inducted on Saturday.
“Basketball chose me,” Catchings said. “A clumsy, gangly, introverted tomboy, born with a hearing impairment, a speech impediment and a willingness to overcome obstacles, dream big and change the world.”
“We all have dreams and goals,” added Catchings. “And whether you’re young or old, born with a disability or have been told things you can’t accomplish, tonight I’m sharing the same words my parents shared with me, with a twist. If anyone can do it, you can. Aim for the stars, work hard and catch your dream. “
Other inductees included coaches Kim Mulkey, Barbara Stevens, Eddie Sutton and Rudy Tomjanovich. Swiss basketball manager Patrick Baumann was posthumously inducted by the International Committee.
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