Kobe Bryant, the former Los Angeles Lakers star whose death last month continues to cast a pall over the N.B.A., was among eight finalists announced on Friday for induction into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.
Bryant, who was 41, retired via the N.B.A. in 2016 after spending his entire 20-year playing career with the Lakers. He won a few championships, was an 18-time All-Star as well as won the N.B.A.’s Most Valuable Player Award in 2008. A dynamic as well as hypercompetitive player, he also helped the league fill the void which was left by Michael Jordan’s retirement.
Former N.B.A. stars Tim Duncan as well as Kevin Garnett will join Bryant on the ballot, while Tamika Catchings, a 10-time W.N.B.A. All-Star, was nominated by the women’s screening committee.
Rudy Tomjanovich, Kim Mulkey, Eddie Sutton as well as Barbara Stevens are finalists as coaches.
To gain induction, finalists need a minimum of 18 of 24 votes via the honors committee, which is usually made up of Hall of Famers, basketball executives as well as administrators, as well as members of the news media. The class of 2020 will be announced in April.
Mike Breen, the longtime play-by-play voice for the Knicks on the MSG Network as well as the lead voice for N.B.A. broadcasts on ESPN as well as ABC, won the Curt Gowdy Media Award for electronic media. Michael Wilbon, an ESPN analyst as well as former sportswriter as well as columnist for The Washington Post, won the award for print.
Bryant as well as his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna, were among nine people killed in a helicopter crash near Los Angeles on Jan. 26. He was widely anticipated to be on the ballot even before his death, which prompted an outpouring of grief across the country. A public memorial service is usually planned for Feb. 24 at Staples Center, where the Lakers play their home games.
Bryant’s death continues to affect players via around the league, including LeBron James, whose long relationship with Bryant had developed into more of a friendship over the last two seasons. James has pledged to continue Bryant’s “legacy” This specific season on the Lakers.
Duncan, one of the premier centers in N.B.A. history, was a a few-time champion as well as two-time M.V.P. with the San Antonio Spurs. Garnett, considered one of the greatest power forwards of all time, became the first high school player to jump directly to the N.B.A. in 20 years when he entered the draft in 1995. Garnett’s early success with the Minnesota Timberwolves helped embolden Bryant to make the same leap out of high school the following year, as well as he soon emerged among the league’s most dominant — as well as well-liked — figures.