Two legends of the game will reunite when Michael Jordan inducts Kobe Bryant into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.
The complete list of inductees and presenters for the ceremony was released this week, but it is the induction of Bryant by his friend, Michael Jordan, that has captured attention.
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) April 15, 2021
Bryant – along with NBA legends Tim Duncan and Kevin Garnett – will be inducted into the class of 2020. According to the Hall of Fame organisers, “members of the 2020 class were asked to select previous inductees to accompany and present them to their peers.”
Following Bryant’s tragic death in January last year, the decision fell to Kobe’s wife, Vanessa, who asked Michael Jordan. Jordan will also induct legendary female basketball coach Kim Mulkey, while Jordan’s long time rival Isiah Thomas will induct Kevin Garnett.
Michael Jordan will present Kobe Bryant in the 2020 Naismith Hall of Fame induction ceremony on May 15. 🙌 pic.twitter.com/ITljVQqvdQ
— Nice Kicks (@nicekicks) April 15, 2021
This induction of Kobe Bryant into the basketball hall of fame will mark the second time in a little over twelve months that Jordan has spoken about their relationship. The Last Dance star was also among the few speakers at Bryant’s funeral last January.
“He wanted to be the best basketball player he could be,” an emotional Jordan said during the speech. “And as I got to know him, I wanted to be the best big brother that I could be.” He continued, “When Kobe Bryant died, a piece of me died.”
Friends off the court and rivals on the court, the friendship between Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant was one of mutual respect and admiration. During Bryant’s come up seasons, he was often compared to Jordan, the brash young Bryant revelling in the rivalry.
In 2017, when the Bleacher Report asked Kobe if Jordan inspired his moves, his response was: “Damn near 100 per cent.”
The news of Michael Jordan inducting Kobe Bryant into the basketball hall of fame comes in the same week that Vanessa Bryant took to social media to celebrate what should have been the couples 20th wedding anniversary.
Vanessa Bryant is expected to attend the 2020 Basketball Hall of Fame ceremony, which will take place on May 15 at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Connecticut.