In a fitting tribute, late basketball legend Kobe Bryant was inducted into the NBA Hall of Fame on Saturday. The Los Angeles Lakers icon was posthumously inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in an event attended by his wife Vanessa Bryant. Vanessa and their oldest daughter Natalia accepted the Hall of Fame shirt and ring as a part of the tribute.
Vanessa paid an emotional tribute to her husband, sharing his love for fans at she took the podium at the Mohegan Sun Resort and Casino in Uncasville, Connecticut,
"He never forgot about his fans. If he could help it, he would play every minute of every game. He loved you all so much," she said.
She continued, "I remember asking me why he couldn’t sit a game out because he was hurting. He said, 'what about the fans who saved up to watch me play just once."
"Kobe’s personal stats speak for themselves, Kobe was on a different level," Vanessa added.
"He never took shortcuts when it came to basketball, he gave this game his all. Kobe played through injury after injury, to name a few, he had IVs administered to him during haf-time to play through food poisoining and the flu" she added.
"He played with a broken nose, he had a broken finger and ha snapped back in pace just enough to finish the game. He also taught his left hand to play the rest of the season while his finger healed. He never forgot about his fans and If he could help it, he would play every minute of every game," she shared
Kobe’s induction into the Class of 2020 was scheduled to take place last year, but it was delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic.
"Dear Kobe, thank you for being the best husband and father you could possibly be. Thank you for always trying to be better and thank you for never giving upon us. Thank you for all of your hard work," Vanessa added.
"Kobe would thank everyone who helped him get here, including the people that doubted him and the people who worked against him and told him he couldn't attain his goals," she said.
Kobe and his 13-year-old daughter Gianna died along with six family friends and the pilot died in a helicopter crash in California on January 26. He was 41. The incident sent shockwaves across the world with members of the sporting and entertainment fraternity mourning his loss.
Kobe was considered among the greatest players to have played the game, as he won NBA Championships for the Los Angeles Lakers five times, was a part of the All-Star, All-NBA Team and All-Defensive Team, 18, 15 and 12 times respectively, apart from being the 2008 MVP and the MVP in two finals. He was ranked fourth in the all-time regular season and post-season scoring.