He was intelligent, eloquent and gifted at many things, including public speaking. To add to his film and novel collection, he told FOX 11’s Liz Habib during their final interview that he created the "The Punies" podcast to bond with his children. The Summer 2012 USA Olympic men's basketball team was loaded with talent. Bryant revealed in later years the 2009 and 2010 Lakers were the closest team he ever played on, which was likely crucial to their success in winning back-to-back championships. I know Kobe is thankful that you’re coming through for his girls. That list is long and it takes a village, but know your kindness and love does not go unappreciated. "He was a man who deserved his beloved reputation, he was a loyal friend. Byrant and his daughter, Gianna, along with seven others, were killed in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, California in January 2020. Kim Mulkey, also part of the 2020 Hall of Fame class, acknowledged Vanessa Bryant during her induction speech. Some of the last photos of Bryant are when the two were in attendance with the Lakers took on the Dallas Mavericks at Staples Center just days after Christmas in 2019. Already a well-established sports icon, Bryant wanted to continue inspiring future generations of athletes by giving back when he opened the Mamba Sports Academy in 2016. The great Kobe Bryant who thrilled is for 20 years right down until the last game," Rudy Tomjanovich said during his Hall of Fame induction speech. While he took great pride in mentoring, there was no denying how much he loved coaching his daughter Gigi who aspired to carry on her father’s basketball legacy. I’m not talking about money, I’m talking about something more valuable than money like great relationships and incredible memories. There were no survivors. He and Gigi deserve to be here to witness this. "I love you forever and always, Kobe Bean Bryant," she concluded. Kobe Bryant. He didn't just resign to the fact that I'm going to go pro. I invited my mother and father in law to tonight’s enshrinement to thank them for bringing one of the most amazing human beings into this world. "Losing to the Celtics in ’08 was tough. The idea that Bryant would be unable to attend his own induction ceremony into the Naismith Basketball Memorial Hall of Fame remains surreal to sports fans across the globe, as many continue to grapple with the sports icon’s untimely and heartbreaking death. He asked the Hall of Fame to specifically add a sixth ticket for Capri. He broke those records and he inspired people to be great. In his final interview with FOX 11, Kobe Bryant talks to Liz Habib about how his podcast and how daughter handled the pressure of winning a game while at the free throw line. "I wish my husband was still here to accept this incredible award. All of your hard work and sacrifices paid off. Kobe Bryant was officially inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame as part of the Class of 2020 along with eight other players. The Los Angeles Lakers were victorious over the Boston Celtics in an intense seven-game series. But before that, at the beginning of the journey was not playing. A career-long Los Angeles Laker (although he was drafted by the Charlotte Hornets before a quick trade to L.A.) Bryant won five NBA champions (2000–2002, 2009, 2010) in which he was the NBA Finals MVP twice (2009, 2010). RELATED: Vanessa Bryant to speak in Kobe Bryant’s honor at his posthumous Hall of Fame ceremony. I'm not going to go pro,' it would have been Duke because Coach K just kept on keeping on. The Mamba and Mambacita Sports Foundation, renamed shortly after the passing of Kobe and Gigi, keeps their legacy alive. The moment that Kobe Bryant fans have been waiting for is almost upon us. Instead, he opted to go straight to the NBA and was drafted 13th in the first round on June 26, 1996. That summer, Bryant won his second Olympic medal. In 2010, Bryant won his fifth NBA Finals Championship and was named Finals MVP. We love you all and are forever grateful for you," she said. Other big names who were enshrined into the Basketball Hall of Fame include Tim Duncan and Kevin Garnett. Kobe Bryant’s posthumous introduction into the NBA Hall of Fame this weekend was always going to be emotional for the basketball world. Harris was also fired at the beginning of the lockout season, who was replaced by Bill Bertka. If he could help it, he would play every minute of every game. The legendary, career-long Los Angeles Laker had a stunning list of accomplishments on (and off) the court. However I do know that he would thank everyone that helped him get here, including the people that doubted him and the people that worked against him and told him he couldn’t attain his goals. “If my husband were here tonight, he would have a long list of people to thank… family, friends, mentors, the Lakers, teammates, muses and opponents. In that era of the NBA, one of the greatest in the sport's history, Kobe was often victorious against his peers, with a few exceptions. HOLLYWOOD, CA - MARCH 04: Filmmaker Kobe Bryant, winner of the Best Animated Short Film award for 'Dear Basketball,' poses in the press room during the 90th Annual Academy Awards at Hollywood & Highland Center on March 4, 2018 in Hollywood, C. Produced by his own multimedia company Granity Studios, Bryant wrote the animated short "Dear Basketball," which won an Academy Award in 2018. In addition to film, he wanted to write novels that kids, especially young athletes could relate to beyond fairytales. "Pam and Joe, thank you for raising Kobe to be exceptional," she said. I don’t have a speech by my husband because he winged every speech. Months later, Kobe and Vanessa's second daughter, Gianna, was born. Coming off a spectacular season his senior year, Bryant was one of the most sought-after players by NBA and college scouts. You’re in the Hall of Fame now. So, I started coaching her a little bit and she made a local all-star team and that’s where we met the rest of the girls that are now on the team. Subscribe for full access to The Hollywood Reporter. “Thank you for bringing so much joy to our lives and joy for people around the world. He would thank all of them for helping him to be here. That’s swimming, that’s playing basketball, that’s playing video games or whatever. He was also the NBA Most Valuable Player in 2008 and elected to an impressive 18 NBA All-Star games (1998, 2000–2016). You’re not just an MVP. Thank you for growing and learning from your own mistakes. He and Gigi deserve to be here to witness this. It was one of the best, if not the best draft class in the history of the sport. It's hard to imagine the Los Angeles Lakers legend playing for any other team, but he was initially selected by the Charlotte Hornets who immediately traded him to the Lakers for Vlade Divac. “Last February, I asked Michael if he would introduce Kobe tonight and he graciously accepted. RELATED: Kobe Bryant legacy lives on through latest novel 'Geese Are Never Swans'. Thank you for inspiring us to be better than the day before.”, “Congratulations baby. As Vanessa Bryant finished her speech, she shared a list of many “thank you’s” to her husband. On April 13, 2016, Bryant's final performance in a Lakers uniform was unforgettable as he orchestrated a 60-point extravaganza in a 101-96 win over the Utah Jazz at Staples Center. Recognised posthumously, Bryant was an 18-time All-Star, five-time NBA champion, two-time Finals MVP, two-time scoring champion and one-time MVP. Scroll to read her message. Gone but not forgotten, Bryant accomplished so much in his 41 years. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. On the morning of January 26, 2020, Kobe and Gigi, along with two of her teammates, their parents, and the team's assistant coach boarded a helicopter in Orange County bound for Camarillo to attend a basketball tournament at the Mamba Sports Academy in Thousand Oaks. The final years of Bryant’s NBA career were rocky for the Lakers but the elite player continued to have numerous spectacular performances. The nonprofit organization works to contribute to charitable endeavors in sports. Though they were rivals on the court, they were more like brothers off the court. So, my first 2-3 years were a nightmare," he said during the "All the Smoke" podcast. There were 50 games scheduled between February 5 – May 5, 1999 that season. On that foggy day, federal officials said the pilot likely experienced spatial disorientation during the flight when crashing into a hillside in the Santa Monica mountains in Calabasas. "There are so many young talented players out there, it’s amazing. His jersey retirement ceremony was held at Staples Center on December 18, 2017 with his wife Vanessa and their daughters Natalia, Gianna, and Bianka by his side. The socially distanced crowd immediately erupted in cheers, many of them shouting "Kobe! “My husband and I were sitting at our kitchen island and he and I had a conversation about my mother and father in law attending tonight’s enshrinement. On Saturday, the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame will induct its class of 2020, which is headlined by NBA legends Tim Duncan, Kevin Garnett and, of course, the late, great, Kobe Bryant. Thank you for never giving up on us. It just kind of came out of nowhere because my daughter just decided she wanted to play about two and a half years ago. That same season, Bryant was also named the NBA Finals MVP in the 4-1 series against the Orlando Magic. News of the death of the Los Angeles Lakers’ icon shocked and devastated fans around the globe. He also won the honor in 2007. Bryant's final All-Star game was one to remember with his second oldest daughter, Gianna, by his side. The legendary Laker was inducted into the NBA hall of fame on Saturday. You did it. And this is when small forwards were [big]…like KG, Shereef Abdul-Rahim…so I started the first ten games at small forward," he recalled. "I felt like it’s my job to pass that information onto the next generation and to see the game develop and see it grow," he told Barnes and Jackson. They all started playing at the ground level but they all enjoy playing so much it just kind of grew into what it is now and it’s been a lot of fun," he said on "All the Smoke.". Class of 2020 Hall of Fame ceremony. "Black Mamba" was in full force in 2009 and is also in contention as Bryant's best season. Natalia Bryant found a touching way to celebrate her late father, Kobe Bryant, ahead of his Hall of Fame induction ceremony. Celebrating Hall of Famer Kobe Bryant's incredible 20-year NBA career. 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Vanessa was comforted by presenter and longtime friend Michael Jordan ahead of her remarks, and she acknowledged how much Kobe and their daughter, Gianna, … On Saturday, Bryant’s introduction into hall of fame enshrinement was presented by living-legend and dear friend, Michael Jordan. In his rookie season, Bryant won the NBA Slam Dunk contest and in 1998, he made his first NBA All-Star game appearance. I want to thank my husband. ", "There’s a difference between who you are and what you are. To all of our close friends and family, that have been present for my girls and I, thank you. Bryant and O’Neal, who was playing for Phoenix at the time, shared the NBA All-Star Game MVP. This means so much to us,” Vanessa Bryant began. In his 20-year NBA career, 2008 is often considered Bryant's best season. "When I get back in my car, I had like 100 text messages and then I saw what happened and I just sat in my car for an hour and cried," he recalled. R&B singer Ne-Yo performed a tribute to those who died in the world of basketball including Bryant, Lute Olson and former NBA commissioner David Stern. Besides my champions, I got the opportunity to coach some of the great players of all time. And I don’t mean just from diversity from a color standpoint, not only just that but the fact that they’re athletes and there’s no story that speaks to athletes. In his 20 seasons, Bryant won five NBA champions and two Olympic gold medals, was named NBA Finals MVP four times (2002, 2007, 2009, 2011), won the NBA All-Star MVP, and was an 18-time NBA All-Star. It was later revealed Bryant almost signed with LA’s other team, the Clippers. Moments later, the trio of NBA superstars known as "Black Mamba," "The Big Fundamental," and "The Big Ticket," were presented with their Hall of Fame jackets. "I knew who his 6’10" father was, I knew genetically who he was but once I saw the work ethic and the skills at such a tender age, I knew that I had something quite unique on my hands. With USA Basketball, Bryant earned an Olympic gold medal in 2008 and 2012. Kobe Bryant was also mentioned by his peers during the Enshrinement Tip-Off Celebration and Awards Gala hosted by Lisa Salters on Friday night. What I am when I step on that court is… I become that. “He could recall the car ride, the conversations and the excitement of being lucky enough to have a seat in the arena. Kobe Bryant before Game Seven of the 2010 NBA Finals. He was persistent about it. Kobe’s wife Vanessa Bryant will also speak as NBA fans will celebrate Bryant’s legacy as he is inducted into the 2020 Hall of Fame. Hanson’s turn as Russian Dolls on ‘The Masked Singer’ snags FOX Super 6 player stacks of cash, French bulldog puppy snatched at gunpoint in Culver City recovered, suspect in custody, Children's screams shatter robbery attempt outside Pasadena restaurant, Mandatory evacuations ordered as Palisades brush fire continues to grow, Exclusive: Mother attacked by transient at Azusa park in front of two young children speaks out. "When I’m playing, it’s a different side of me. It’s two completely different things. I’m glad you bet on yourself, you overachiever. Thank you for always trying to be better. Bryant’s wife, Vanessa, delivered the acceptance speech. With patience and hard work, things took a turn in the 1998-99 NBA lockout season. Fran and I will always miss him. It wasn’t me sitting there as an athlete or a player, it was about her. And let me tell you something. You’re a true champ. The highly anticipated celebration of Kobe Bryant's Hall of Fame NBA career made for an emotional evening. “The list goes on,” Bryant shared, “but his most cherished accomplishment was being the very best girl dad. Led by Phil Jackson and often named one of the best NBA duos in history, Bryant and Shaquille O'Neal were teammates from 1996-2004 and many Laker fans love reminiscing about their team from the early 2000s. 8 to No. Just before the late Kobe Bryant’s induction into the Basketball Hall of Fame on Saturday, his widow Vanessa Bryant appeared to celebrate the life and legacy of the NBA superstar. Kobe Bryant was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame on Saturday in what was a highly emotional moment, commemorating the legend’s contributions to the game and the deep reverence held among peers and fans. I think it’s the perception of the way I am on the court is the way I am off the court. "We had a really competitive household with my cousins and my father and my uncle…you had to really, really work just to survive. Not only did he win his third NBA championship, but he was also named the NBA All-Star Game MVP. Bursting with confidence, it was apparent his daughter shared his love for the game. Kobe Bryant will be inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame as a member of the Class of 2020 this weekend. The legendary, career-long Los Angeles Laker had a stunning list of accomplishments on (and off) the court. Right now, I’m sure he’s laughing in heaven because I’m about to praise him in public for his accomplishments on one of the most public stages. Not only do you lose, but you get embarrassed when you lose. Allen Iverson was selected first in the first round. Kobe’s daughter Natalia Bryant also honored her late father at the 2020 Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame induction ceremony by wearing his jacket and his ring. (Photo by Allen Berezovs. Kobe Bryant will be posthumously inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame Saturday afternoon. Los Angeles Lakers legend Kobe Bryant was inducted into the Naismith Basketball Memorial Hall of Fame on Saturday with a heartfelt tribute by Vanessa Bryant. Vanessa Bryant honors late husband Kobe Bryant with speech at Basketball Hall of Fame ceremony The late Lakers star was inducted into the Hall of Fame on Saturday 1/8/2021 - Springfield - Kobe: A Basketball Life, a new exhibit that honors Kobe Bryant at Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. At the age of 22, while most of Bryant's high school peers were graduating college, Bryant won his first NBA title in 2000. Overwhelmed by his emotions, Bryant played it cool like he was known to do when he made his famous "Mamba Out" speech during a post-game ceremony dedicated to him. Kobe was one-of-a-kind. You once told me if you’re going to bet on someone bet on yourself. I’m really psychotic about having that family time, making sure we’re doing what we have to do as a family, I’m doing school drop-offs and school pick-ups and giving my babies a shower and I’m doing all the stuff and making sure I’m there for them as much as possible, but on the basketball court it’s a completely different animal," he said on the podcast. For many, memories from the day he died still stings. I knew him in his formative years and saw him as a rookie, a five-time NBA Champion, a father who loved his girls, a storyteller who won an Academy Award and believe it or not, a Karaoke singer," sportscaster and Curt Gowdy Media Insight Award recipient Jim Gray said during the Hall of Fame Enshrinement Gala. Duncan and the San Antonio Spurs frequently battled with the Lakers as "Best of the West," in the Western Conference for a spot in the NBA Finals. The highly anticipated celebration of Kobe Bryant's Hall of Fame NBA career made for an emotional evening. Vanessa also took the time to thank those who have been present and there for the girls, saying "it takes a village.". With Bryant, Derek Fisher, Pau Gasol, Lamar Odom, Metta World Peace (born Ron Artest), and more, the Lakers were stacked and ferocious. The kids with the same excitement he once had.”. Bryant, who averaged 35.4 points per game, was the NBA scoring champion during the 2005-06 season. He was special, he was humble off the court, but bigger than life. ©2021 FOX Television Stations, NBA stars, legends react to Kobe Bryant Hall-of-Fame induction, 'Your legacy lives forever': Magic Johnson honors fellow Hall of Famer Kobe Bryant, 'This kid's a pro': Kobe Bryant's high school coach reflects on his legacy, Kobe Bryant legacy lives on through latest novel 'Geese Are Never Swans', said the pilot likely experienced spatial disorientation, News related to the life and death of NBA legend Kobe Bryant, The Mamba and Mambacita Sports Foundation, Shootings reported on 91 Freeway in Riverside, True Crime Files: Group of TikTok users leading push to free Menendez Brothers, Caught on camera: Lyft driver robbed at gunpoint in South El Monte. Thank you for all of your hard work. Do you still have to wear a mask in California? Life will reward those children, I promise you," she said. He loved you all so much," she said. 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