Kobe Bryant, Kevin Garnett, Tim Duncan Headline 2020 Basketball HOF Inductees

Adam Wells@adamwells1985Featured Columnist

The retired jerseys of late Los Angeles Lakers Kobe Bryant hangs above the arena prior to an NBA game against the Portland Trail Blazers at Staples Center Friday, Jan. 31, 2020, in Los Angeles. Bryant, the 18-time NBA All-Star who won five championships and became one of the greatest basketball players of his generation during a 20-year career with the Los Angeles Lakers, died in a helicopter crash Sunday. (AP Photo/Ringo H.W. Chiu)
Ringo H.W. Chiu/Associated Press

NBA icons Kobe Bryant, Kevin Garnett and Tim Duncan will headline the 2020 Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame class. 

Indiana Fever star Tamika Catchings, former Houston Rockets head coach Rudy Tomjanovich, former Oklahoma State coach Eddie Sutton, Baylor women's coach Kim Mulkey, Bentley University women's coach Barbara Stevens, and IOC and FIBA executive Patrick Baumann will also be inducted. 

The Hall announced its newest inductees on Saturday. The induction ceremony is scheduled to take place during enshrinement weekend from Aug. 28-30.

Given the amount of star power among the first-time eligible nominees this year, the Hall of Fame Selection Committee altered its process by suspending the direct election categories to streamline the process and "provide each enshrinee with the recognition and notoriety he or she deserves upon election."

Bryant will be the headliner, though his enshrinement will surely have a somber tone in the wake of his tragic death, alongside eight others, in a helicopter crash on Jan. 26. 

Even before the official voting took place, Hall of Fame chairman Jerry Colangelo announced that Bryant would be inducted this year.

In 20 seasons with the Los Angeles Lakers, Bryant ranks fourth in NBA history with 33,643 points, fifth in field goals made (11,719) and 12th in points per game (25.0). He also won five championships, two NBA Finals MVP and the 2007-08 NBA MVP. 

His 18 appearances in the All-Star Game rank second in NBA history. He's tied with LeBron James for most All-NBA selections (15) and is tied with Karl Malone for second-most first-team All-NBA selections (11)

Garnett's journey to the Hall of Fame began with him making history when the Minnesota Timberwolves drafted him. The South Carolina native became the first player drafted into the NBA right out of high school since 1975 when he was selected No. 5 overall in 1995. 

The Timberwolves experienced a turnaround during Garnett's 14 seasons with them. After missing the playoffs in each of their first seven seasons, the Wolves made the postseason eight straight years from 1997-2004 and advanced to the Western Conference Finals during the 2003-04 season. 

Garnett remains the only player in T-Wolves history to be named NBA MVP (2004). He was named to the All-Star team 15 times and the All-Defensive first team nine times. 

After being traded to the Boston Celtics in July 2007, Garnett won his lone NBA title in his first season with the team. He became the first player in league history with at least 25,000 points, 10,000 rebounds, 5,000 assists, 1,500 steals and 1,500 blocks. 

Duncan was the NBA's quiet superstar for 19 seasons with the San Antonio Spurs after being drafted No. 1 overall in 1997. The Big Fundamental made an instant impact with 21.1 points and 11.9 rebounds per game in his first year en route to winning NBA Rookie of the Year. 

The Spurs won their first championship in the 1998-99 season, with Duncan averaging 27.4 points and 14.0 rebounds against the New York Knicks to win NBA Finals MVP. 

Over the course of his historic career, he won the Finals MVP three times with five championships and back-to-back NBA MVP awards (2002 and '03). He's tied with Garnett and Shaquille O'Neal for fifth-most All-Star selections (15). 

Duncan's 15 appearances on the NBA All-Defense first or second team are three more than anyone else in history. He was named to the All-NBA first team 10 times, including in each of his first eight seasons. 

Catchings got into the Hall of Fame in her first time on the ballot. The New Jersey native is one of the best players in WNBA history. 

After a historic college career at Tennessee, which included a quintuple-double and a national title, she spent her entire 15-year WNBA career with the Indiana Fever. She was named to the All-Star team and All-Defensive first team 10 times and won WNBA Defensive Player of the Year five times. 

Catchings is the WNBA's all-time leader in career steals (1,074) and ranks third in rebounds (3,316). She was one of 20 players named to the WNBA's 20th anniversary team in 2016. 

Tomjanovich was previously a finalist for the Hall of Fame in 2017 and 2018, but he missed out on getting in until his third time. 

Despite the wait, he has a resume worthy of being on display at the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame Museum between his work as a player and head coach. He averaged 17.4 points, 8.1 rebounds per game and was named an All-Star five times in 11 seasons as a player. 

After Tomjanovich's playing career ended, he moved into the coaching ranks. The Houston Rockets hired him as their head coach in 1992. He went 503-397 in 12 seasons from 1991-2003, winning back-to-back NBA titles in 1993-94 and 1994-95. 

Mulkey has transformed Baylor into one of the best basketball programs in the country since taking over in 2000. 

Prior to her arrival, the Bears never made it to the NCAA tournament and were coming off a 7-20 record in 1999-2000. She led them to 21 wins and a tournament appearance in her first season. 

In her 20 seasons with the Bears, Mulkey has won three national titles and led them to nine straight years with at least 30 wins from 2010 to 2019. She became the fastest coach in men's or women's Division I history to reach 600 career victories (700 games). 

The seventh time turned out to be a charm for Sutton, who was named a finalist six previous times without getting inducted. 

His 806 career wins are the 11th-most in Division I history. The Kansas native became the first coach in men's college basketball history to lead four programs into the NCAA tournament (Creighton, Arkansas, Kentucky, Oklahoma State). 

Sutton is one of 14 men's coaches to lead at least two teams to the Final Four. He made the tournament 26 times in 36 Division I seasons. 

Stevens is one of seven head coaches in college basketball history with at least 1,000 career victories. She reached the milestone in January 2018 and has 1,058 wins after the completion of the 2019-20 season. 

After a modest three-year stint at the University of Massachusetts from 1983 to 1986, she was hired by her alma mater, Bentley University. The Massachusetts native played basketball for the Falcons and graduated from the program in 1976. 

Stevens has had winning records in 33 of 34 seasons at Bentley. The Falcons have reached the Division II Final Four 10 times, including five consecutive years from 1989-93, and won the national title in 2013-14 with a 35-0 record. 

Baumann was voted in by the international committee. The Switzerland native will be inducted posthumously, primarily for his contribution as FIBA's secretary general from 2002 until his death in 2018. 

Per HoopHall.com, Baumann helped build basketball's popularity around the world, notably with the expansion of three-on-three games and developing youth-oriented events.

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