Vanessa Bryant, Kobe Bryant’s widow, accepted her husband’s admission to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame Saturday, saying he’s still winning even after he’s gone.
Vanessa stressed that “I always avoided praising my husband in public because I felt that he received enough praise from his fans around the world and someone had to bring him back to reality,” said Vanessa Bryant during the ceremony that took place in the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville (Connecticut).
The wife of the former NBA star also indicated that “I am sure that at this moment he is laughing in heaven because I am about to praise him in public for his achievements in one of the most public stages. I can see him now, with arms crossed, with a big smile saying ‘Aren’t you kidding?’.”
She added that he “is still winning.”
The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame Class of 2020 is one of the most star-studded of all time, after Bryant and teammates Kevin Garnett and Tim Duncan meet.
According to LeBron James, he is the best generation of anyone in the history of the institution. “There hasn’t been a better Big 3 to go in at the same time,” the Lakers star stressed.
Vanessa Bryant had publicly asked the Sheriff’s Department to publish the officers’ names in an Instagram post.
But the figure that attracted attention was Bryant, who died in the tragic helicopter crash, joined with his daughter Gianna and seven other people, on January 26, 2020.
Vanessa Bryant’s speech, delivered with Bryant’s idol, the legendary Michael Jordan, standing next to her as her Hall of Fame presenter, focused on her relationship with her husband, as well as his with his daughters.
“I don’t have a speech prepared by my husband because he overcame each and every speech,” she said. “He was smart, eloquent, and talented at many things, including public speaking. However, I know that he would appreciate everyone who helped him get here, including the people who doubted him and those who worked against him and told him that he couldn’t reach his goals,” she said.
In an exclusive interview with “People” magazine, Kobe Bryant’s widow said that since the tragic plane crash she has been going through “unimaginable pain.”
She also spoke about his determination and willingness to play despite injuries, such as when he made two free throws and left the field unaided after tearing his Achilles tendon.
She stressed that that feeling came from having the opportunity to see Jordan grow and follow his example of always trying to put on a show for the one person who could only see him play that night, in that game.
“People don’t know, but one of the reasons my husband played despite injuries and pain was because he said he remembered being a little boy, sitting watching his favorite player play,” she stressed as she watched Jordan.
The woman alleges that Kobe Bryant had promised to take care of her financially for her entire life.
“I remember asking him why he couldn’t stay out of a game because he was injured. He said, ‘What about the fans who saved up to see me play just once?’ He never forgot about his fans.”
She said his favorite fans were his daughters, whom he constantly adored and went out of his way to attend each of their events.
“Thank you for being the best husband and father you could be. Thank you for growing up and learning from your own mistakes,” said Vanessa Bryant.
“Thank you for always trying to be better. Thank you for never giving up on us. Thank you for all your hard work. Thank you for our family. Thank you for our daughters: Natalia, Gianna, Bianka and Capri.”
Vanessa also thanked Bryant for giving them a “wonderful” life together as a family and for all the sacrifices he made despite having to train and play afterwards.
After the many thanks that Vanessa dedicated to Bryant, the wife of the former Lakers star ended her speech with a “Congratulations, baby. All your hard work and sacrifice have been worth it. You once told me, if you are going to bet on Someone, bet on yourself. I’m glad you bet on yourself, you’re a great achiever. You did it. Now you’re in the Hall of Fame, true champion.”
Along with Bryant, Duncan and Garnett were also inducted into the Hall of Fame, former Houston Rockets coach Rudy Tomjanovich and college Eddie Sutton.
WNBA legend Tamika Catchings also took the stage to receive the trophy as a new inductee to the Hall of Fame after a successful professional career in which a 12-time first-team selection, won five awards for defensive player of the year, an MVP. of the league, a championship and four Olympic gold medals.
Also entering the hallowed ground of the Hall of Fame were women’s college basketball coaches Barbara Stevens, and Kim Muley, a three-time national champion with Baylor.
While posthumously, the former FIBA secretary general, the Swiss Patrick Baumann, who died of a heart attack in 2018, completed the list of the nine new members of the Hall of Fame.
Melissa Galbraith is the World News reporter for Globe Live Media. She covers all the major events happening around the World. From Europe to Americas, from Asia to Antarctica, Melissa covers it all. Never miss another Major World Event by bookmarking her author page right here.