Beijing: Los Angeles Lakers legend Kobe Bryant, who was killed in a helicopter crash last month, led the eight finalists for the Basketball Hall of Fame Class of 2020 in honor of his outstanding achievements.
Bryant won five NBA championships with the Lakers as well as two Olympic gold medals with Team USA. The 18-time NBA All-Star also sat as the Lakers’ all-time leader in several categories, including games played, scoring and steals, reports Xinhua news agency.
Bryant’s tragic death has had an impact on the Hall of Fame selections. “We knew this class had the potential of being one of the most historic of all time,” said Hall of Fame chairman Jerry Colangelo.
“The untimely passing of Kobe Bryant has left us in a state of reflective mourning and we’re proud to honor his legacy while also recognizing seven other individuals who have meant so much to our game.”
Also named as finalists were former NBA stars 15-time All-Star and three-time Finals MVP Tim Duncan, 15-time All-Star Kevin Garnett, and 10-time WNBA All-Star and four-time Olympic gold medallist Tamika Catchings.
Completing the list were coaches Kim Mulkey, Barbara Stevens, Eddie Sutton, and Rudy Tomjanovich.
The Hall of Fame Class of 2020 will be announced on April 4 and enshrined during festivities in Springfield, Massachusetts, the birthplace of Basketball, from August 28-30.