By Satuk Bugra Kutlugun
ANKARA (AA) – Hoop stars Kobe Bryant, Kevin Garnett, and Tim Duncan led a delayed group of inductees late Saturday entering basketball's top class, the hallowed Hall of Fame.
"Kobe's personal stats speak for themselves. Kobe never took shortcuts when it came to basketball," said Vanessa Bryant, the player’s widow, adding: "There will never be anyone like Kobe. He was one of a kind."
Receiving the honor on behalf of her late husband from legend Michael Jordan, Bryant said: "Kobe admired you, this means so much to us."
"You're in the Hall of Fame now. You're a true champ. You're not just an MVP. You're an all-time great," she added.
The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in the state of Massachusetts pays tribute to world basketball greats, including coaches, players, and referees, for their significant contributions to the game.
Bryant, whose death in a January 2020 helicopter crash shocked the world, was loyal to the Los Angeles Lakers, spending his entire career with the same franchise.
The 18-time NBA All-Star won five NBA titles with the Lakers, in 2000, 2001, 2002, 2009, and 2010.
Bryant also helped the US National Basketball team win two Olympic gold medals in Beijing 2008 and London 2012.
In addition to Bryant, Garnett, and Duncan, the other 2020 Hall of Fame inductees are Patrick Baumann, Tamika Catchings, Kim Mulkey, Barbara Stevens, Eddie Sutton, and Rudy Tomjanovich.
Duncan, a 15-time NBA All-Star (1998, 2000-11, 2013, 2015), was an eight-time member of the NBA All-Defensive First Team (1999-2003, 2005, 2007, and 2008).
Garnett is a 15-time NBA All-Star (1997-1998, 2000-11, 2013) and 2008 NBA champion with the Boston Celtics.