Vanessa Bryant on Kobe's HOF Induction: We Wish He Was Here to Celebrate with Us

Adam Wells@adamwells1985Featured ColumnistApril 4, 2020

FILE - In this March 28, 2016, file photo, Los Angeles Lakers forward Kobe Bryant (24) walks onto the court during the team's NBA basketball game against the Utah Jazz in Salt Lake City. The Lakers announced Tuesday, Sept. 12, 2017, that they will retire Bryant’s No. 8 and No. 24 in a ceremony Dec. 18 during their game against Golden State. Bryant wore No. 8 from 1996 to 2006, when he switched to No. 24 for the remainder of his 20-year career with the Lakers. He will be the 10th player honored by the Lakers with a jersey retirement, and the first to have two retired numbers. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer, File)
Rick Bowmer/Associated Press

On the day Kobe Bryant was officially elected into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame, Vanessa Bryant shared thoughts about the honor for her late husband.

"Obviously, we wish that he was here with us to celebrate," Vanessa said on ESPN on Saturday following the announcement. "But it's definitely the peak of his NBA career and every accomplishment that he had as an athlete was a stepping stone to be here. So, we're incredibly proud of him."

Bryant leads a group that also includes Tim Duncan, Kevin Garnett, Tamika Catchings, Eddie Sutton, Rudy Tomjanovich, Kim Mulkey, Barbara Stevens and Patrick Baumann.

There was never any doubt Bryant would go in to the Hall of Fame on the first ballot, but the celebration around his potential induction changed on Jan. 26 when the Los Angeles Lakers legend was killed, along with his daughter Gianna and seven others, in a helicopter crash.

In 20 NBA seasons, Bryant was named to the All-Star team 18 times, All-NBA team 15 times (11 first-team selections) and won five NBA titles in seven trips to the finals. 

Bryant retired from the NBA ranked third all-time in scoring with 33,643 points. He has since moved down to fourth place after LeBron James passed him this season in a Jan. 25 game against the Philadelphia 76ers.

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Kobe and Vanessa Bryant married in April 2001 and had four children together.