With Saturday’s announcement of this summer’s Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame inductees, including former Boston Celtic Kevin Garnett, the Class of 2020 is poised to be one of the most memorable yet.
It will certainly be bittersweet, however, as Kobe Bryant will be enshrined posthumously after his tragic and unexpected death in a helicopter crash in January.
In an interview with Shams Charania of the Athletic on Tuesday, Garnett spoke to that.
“The fact that we’re all being congratulated and honored, not having Kob’ is going to affect everybody,” Garnett said. “He had such a pivotal part in the game itself, not just influence, but creation. I’d like to think that Kob’ created inadvertently an originality about himself. Timmy (Duncan) is the same thing. They both are unprecedented, not only athletes, but people. I feel more than honored to go in with these two, but Kobe not being there is going to be super emotional for everybody.
“The fact that the three of us actually pushed the other two into whether it was awards, All-Stars, battles, rings — we all three pushed the lines.”
And while Bryant won’t be there to accept the award, his wife, Vanessa, spoke with ESPN on Saturday and discussed what his induction would have meant to him, and what it means to the Bryant family.
Garnett has even said that before joining the Celtics, he would have liked to link up with Bryant on the Lakers.
Undoubtedly, Garnett, Duncan and Bryant’s competitiveness with each other helped push themselves into the Hall of Fame. And Bryant’s work ethic and strive for excellence will continue to inspire those who come after him.