On the heels of NBA legend Kobe Bryant dying in a helicopter crash Sunday in Calabasas, California, the chairman of the Basketball Hall of Fame all but guaranteed Bryant’s enshrinement among the sport’s all-time greats.
On Monday, Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame chairman Jerry Colangelo told reporter Shams Charania at The Athletic that the organization plans to honor Bryant in 2020.
“Kobe will be honored the way he should be,” Colangelo told Charania.
Bryant and fellow basketball stars Kevin Garnett, Tim Duncan, Muggsy Bogues and Tim Hardaway were among those announced as 2020 nominees in December. Bryant, who retired in 2016, was a first-time nominee. Players are eligible for the Hall of Fame once they have been retired for four full seasons.
The Hall of Fame told HuffPost in an emailed statement that it, with the “rest of the basketball world,” is “mourning the untimely passing of Kobe Bryant, a nominee for the Class of 2020 and an icon of the game.”
“We offer our sincerest condolences to the Bryant family and all of those affected by this tragedy.” Hall of Fame finalists will be announced at the NBA All-Star Weekend in February, and honorees will be named at the NCAA Men’s Final Four in April.
The former Los Angeles Laker, nicknamed “Black Mamba,” was 41 when he died alongside his 13-year-old daughter Gianna and eight other passengers.