This past Sunday, former NBA player Kobe Bryant, 41, passed away in a tragic helicopter crash in Calabasas, California along with his daughter, Gianna, 13, and seven other passengers. Celebrities and fans alike have been paying tribute to Bryant, who was a Los Angeles Laker for the duration of his 20-season basketball career. Now, reports indicate that the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame is planning to honor the star player and his numerous accomplishments by inducting him in the 2020 class.
Bryant retired from the game in 2016 and was first nominated for a spot in the Basketball Hall of Fame in December 2019, the first year he was eligible, among 50 other star basketball players.
"For 20 seasons, Kobe showed us what is possible when remarkable talent blends with an absolute devotion to winning," NBA commissioner Adam Silver said in a statement on Sunday. "He was one of the most extraordinary players in the history of our game with accomplishments that are legendary: five NBA championships, an NBA MVP award, 18 NBA All-Star selections, and two Olympic gold medals.
"But he will be remembered most for inspiring people around the world to pick up a basketball and compete to the very best of their ability," Silver continued. "He was generous with the wisdom he acquired and saw it as his mission to share it with future generations of players, taking special delight in passing down his love of the game to Gianna."
Until shortly before his death, Bryant held the number three spot for most career points in the NBA, having scored 33,643 during his time with the Lakers (and becoming the youngest league player to reach 30,000 points). But last Saturday, LeBron James surpassed him, taking the third spot. In response, Bryant tweeted out words of encouragement towards his former teammate, saying, "Continuing to move the game forward @KingJames. Much respect my brother."
Actions like this are what made Bryant a role model on and off the court. His fans and community are still recovering from his passing, and have spent the days since the accident honoring the former Laker.
Bryant and his daughter are survived by Bryant's wife Vanessa, 37, and his daughters Natalia, 17, Bianka, 3, and Capri, 7 months.