Appearing on ESPN after the official announcement of Bryant's enshrinement, Johnson said "it breaks my heart" that Bryant won't be at the ceremony in Springfield, Massachusetts to receive the honor in person.
Bryant, who was killed alongside eight others in a Jan. 26 helicopter crash, will be inducted into the Hall of Fame posthumously.
The 2020 class is among the most historic groups ever inducted. Bryant leads the nine-person group that includes Tim Duncan, Kevin Garnett, WNBA icon Tamika Catchings, legendary college coach Eddie Sutton, long-time NBA player and former Houston Rockets head coach Rudy Tomjanovich, Baylor women's coach Kim Mulkey, Division II coaching icon Barbara Stevens and former FIBA executive Patrick Baumann.
Johnson retired from playing after the 1995-96 season. Bryant was drafted No. 13 overall by the Charlotte Hornets following that season before having his rights traded to the Lakers in June 1996. He spent his entire career in Los Angeles, winning five championships in 20 seasons.
In the wake of Bryant's death, a number of NBA players who wore No. 8 or 24 switched their number as a way to informally retire the 18-time All-Star's numbers throughout the league.