On Saturday, April 15, Kobe Bryant was posthumously inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame, along with other NBA superstars like Tim Duncan and Kevin Garnett. Bryant was among a group of nine inducted into the Hall of Fame on Saturday, more than a year after their induction was announced as the class of 2020. Vanessa Bryant accepted the honour on behalf of her late husband on Saturday, one year later than planned due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Bryant’s heartrending speech encapsulated not only the work ethic of Kobe, but the love shared between the Los Angeles Lakers legend and his fans. She was escorted by Michael Jordan. While delivering her speech at the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, Bryant imagined her late husband’s reaction to hearing her praise. “I can see him now, arms folded with a huge grin saying, ‘Isn’t this some sh*t?'” Bryant said.
“Kobe was on a different level,” Bryant said. “He never took shortcuts when it came to basketball. He gave this game his all.” Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna “Gigi” Bryant, who was 13, died in a helicopter crash in January of 2020. In her speech, Bryant shared how headstrong Kobe was in his career. He even managed to play while having IVs administered during halftime at games to play through food poisoning and the flu, a broken nose, a broken finger, and even swished two free throws with a torn Achilles and walked off the court on his own. “Kobe had many accomplishments: five-time NBA champion, five-time New York Times bestselling author, 18-time All-Star, a league MVP and two-time Finals MVP, two-time Olympic gold medal winner. He’s also the first professional athlete to win an Oscar. The list goes on but his most cherished accomplishment was being the very best girl dad,” Vanessa noted.
Bryant made sure to emphasise that if Kobe were here he would make sure to thank everyone involved in his athletic evolution. Sadly, since that isn’t the case she focused on thanking Kobe for doing the work it took to become the legend he was. “Dear Kobe, thank you for being the best husband and father you could possibly be,” Bryant said. “Thank you for our family … thank you for loving me enough to last lifetimes and in every lifetime I chose you.” In a tearjerking end, Bryant closed out her speech by congratulating her husband on his accomplishment of being inducted into the hall of fame. “You once told me, if you’re going to bet on someone, bet on yourself. I’m glad you bet on yourself, you overachiever. You did it,” she continued. “You’re in the hall of fame now. You’re an all-time great.”
Watch the full speech here: