Kobe Bryant, the late Lower Merion High School graduate and Los Angeles Lakers star basketball player, will be inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame just months after being killed in a helicopter crash.
The announcement about Bryant, who played 20 seasons in the NBA, and the other 2020 Hall of Fame inductees, came on Saturday. The class is scheduled to be officially enshrined during Hall of Fame festivities on Aug. 29 in Springfield, Mass.
Bryant is fourth on the NBA’s all-time scoring list with 33,643 points. He won five NBA titles, was a two-time NBA Finals MVP, a two-time Olympic gold medalist, an NBA MVP, 12-time All-Defense, and an 11-time first-team All-NBA selection. The 18-time All-Star averaged 25 points, 5.2 rebounds and 4.7 assists for his career.
His induction comes as no surprise.
Bryant was among nine people who died in a helicopter crash on Jan. 26 outside Los Angeles. Bryant, 41, was traveling to a youth basketball function with his daughter, Gianna, 13, when the helicopter crashed. The expectation after his death was that he would be a member of this Hall of Fame class, which now includes Tim Duncan and Kevin Garnett.
The other 2020 Hall of Fame inductees are Tamika Catchings, Patrick Baumann, Kim Mulkey, Barbara Stevens, Eddie Sutton, and Rudy Tomjanovich.
Bryant wore No. 24 and No. 8 for the Lakers. The team retired both jersey numbers on Dec. 18, 2017 after his retirement.
Bryant was selected 13th overall in the 1996 draft by the Charlotte Hornets and traded to the Lakers. That came after he produced one of the Philadelphia area’s best prep careers.
Bryant scored 2,883 career points at Lower Merion to set an all-time Southeastern Pennsylvania record. As a senior in 1996, he led Lower Merion to a 31-3 record and the PIAA Class 4A state title. It was the school’s first state championship in more than 50 years.
Duncan won five NBA titles and two Finals MVPs during his 19-year career with the San Antonio Spurs. He was a two-time league MVP, the 1998 rookie of the year and a 15-time All-Star.
Garnett played 22 seasons after skipping college and going fifth overall to the Minnesota Timberwolves in the 1995 draft. He was the 2004 league MVP and a 15-time All-Star. Garnett won the 2008 NBA title as a member of the Boston Celtics.