michael jordan kobe bryant
LOS ANGELES, UNITED STATES: Michael Jordan of the Chicago Bulls (L) eyes the basket as he is guarded by Kobe Bryant of the Los Angeles Lakers during their 01 February game in Los Angeles, CA. Jordan will appear in his 12th NBA All-Star game 08 February while Bryant will make his first All-Star appearance. The Lakers won the game 112-87. AFP PHOTO/Vince BUCCI (Photo credit should read Vince Bucci/AFP via Getty Images)

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.

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.

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.

michael jordan kobe
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA – FEBRUARY 24: Michael Jordan speaks during The Celebration of Life for Kobe & Gianna Bryant at Staples Center on February 24, 2020 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)

“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.

CHICAGO, UNITED STATES: Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant(L) and Chicago Bulls guard Michael Jordan(R) talk during a free-throw attempt during the fourth quarter 17 December at the United Center in Chicago. Bryant, who is 19 and bypassed college basketball to play in the NBA, scored a team-high 33 points off the bench, and Jordan scored a team-high 36 points. The Bulls defeated the Lakers 104-83. AFP PHOTO VINCENT LAFORET (Photo credit should read VINCENT LAFORET/AFP via Getty Images)

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.

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