Kobe Bryant was already immortal. Now he's officially a Hall of Famer as well.
And he's got plenty of elite company in the 2020 class. Bryant, who died on Jan. 26 in a helicopter crash, and fellow NBA greats Tim Duncan and Kevin Garnett headlined a nine-person group announced Saturday as this year's class of enshrinees into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.
They were the eight finalists who were announced in February, and the panel of 24 voters who were tasked to decide who merited selection wound up choosing them all. Also headed to the Hall this year: former FIBA Secretary General Patrick Baumann, selected as a direct-elect by the international committee.
"He was the head of FIBA and this was a way to honor him," Colangelo said. "It was a special thing done through that committee."
Bryant died about three weeks before the Hall of Fame said - as if there was going to be any doubt - that he was a finalist. Duncan and Garnett were also widely perceived to be locks to be part of this class; they were both 15-time NBA All-Stars, and Bryant was an 18-time selection.
In an interview Saturday with ESPN, Bryant's widow Vanessa called the Hall of Fame election the "peak of his NBA career." The Los Angeles Lakers posted a video tribute to Bryant, showing his journey from teenage draft pick to NBA champion.