Kobe Bryant is set to posthumously become a Hall of Famer.
Although the final list of players who will be inducted into the 2020 class of the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame has yet to be revealed, the late NBA legend — who was announced as a nominee in December 2019 — will be among the players honored, according to chairman Jerry Colangelo.
“When people talk about the greats of all time, it’s pretty difficult to say who was No. 1, and who’s 2, and who’s 3, but there are four to five names that always get mentioned, we know that. Kobe’s right there with everybody,” Colangelo said on NBA TV on Sunday, after Bryant died in a helicopter crash alongside 13-year-old daughter Gianna and seven others.
“Ironically, I have a meeting in Dallas on Wednesday with the committee to go through the candidates,” he added. “Obviously, the result of whatever names come out of that, he was going to be a first-ballot guy. There’s no doubt in my mind. He’s going to be honored. He’s going into the Hall of Fame.”
Colangelo also told The Athletic’s Shams Charania that Bryant would be among the class of 2020.
“Expected to be arguably the most epic class ever with Kobe, Tim Duncan and Kevin Garnett,” he said. “Kobe will be honored the way he should be.”
Finalists will be honored during the 2020 NBA All-Star Weekend in February and the list of inductees will be announced in April, during the NCAA’s Final Four tournament.
The induction ceremony is set to take place on Aug. 29 in Springfield, Massachusetts.
Bryant and his 13-year-old daughter Gianna were two of the nine victims who were killed in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, California, on Sunday. Bryant is survived by wife Vanessa, 37, and three of their four children: daughters Natalia, 17, Bianka, 3, and Capri, 7 months.
Shortly before his death, Bryant opened up about his legacy, and how he didn’t feel bothered about his records getting broken.
Knowing LeBron James was just games away from surpassing his all-time scoring record — which the current Lakers player achieved on Saturday, one day before Bryant’s death — Bryant told the Los Angeles Times that he was “comfortable with the 20 years and moving on,” referencing his two decades playing for the Lakers.
“People tend to misconstrue my competitiveness and that of other athletes as well. They think, they’re competitors, they don’t want the person coming up behind them to pass them or break their records, and that couldn’t be further from the truth,” he said.
“If you’re playing together on the court, that’s a competition. But when you have done whatever you can do and now you move on from that, you don’t wish bad on other athletes because you’re trying to preserve whatever idea you think people have of your legacy,” he added. “I want to see people do well, I want to see them do better than anything I’ve ever done; that’s just the way it should be.”