Last night, Kobe Bryant was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame on Saturday in what was a highly emotional moment, commemorating his contributions to the game.
Recall that Byrant and his daughter, Gianna, along with seven others, were killed in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, California in January 2020. Fans have been mourning him ever since.
And yesterday, Bryant’s introduction into hall of fame enshrinement was presented by his dear friend, the legend Michael Jordan.
Bryant’s wife, Vanessa, delivered the acceptance speech.
“Last February, I asked Michael if he would introduce Kobe tonight and he graciously accepted. Kobe admired you. This means so much to us,” Vanessa Bryant began. “I used to always avoid praising my husband in public because I felt like he got enough praise from his fans around the world, and someone had to bring him back to reality. Right now, I’m sure he’s laughing in heaven because I’m about to praise him in public for his accomplishments on one of the most public stages. I can see him now, arms folded with a huge grin saying ‘Isn’t this some shit.’ I wish my husband was here to accept this incredible award. He and Gigi deserve to be here to witness this. Gigi would be so proud to watch her daddy get enshrined into the Basketball Hall of Fame.”
“My husband and I were sitting at our kitchen island and he and I had a conversation about my mother and father in law attending tonight’s enshrinement. I invited my mother and father in law to tonight’s enshrinement to thank them for bringing one of the most amazing human beings into this world. Pam and Joe thank you for raising Kobe to be exceptional.”
“If my husband were here tonight, he would have a long list of people to thank… family, friends, mentors, the Lakers, teammates, muses and opponents. This is one of the many hard parts of not having him here. At the risk of leaving anyone out, I can only say thank you. To all those who helped him get here, you know who you are and I thank you on his behalf. I don’t have a speech by my husband because he winged every speech. He was intelligent, eloquent and gifted at many things, including public speaking. However I do know that he would thank everyone that helped him get here, including the people that doubted him and the people that worked against him and told him he couldn’t attain his goals. He would thank all of them for helping him to be here. After all, he proved you wrong,” she continued.
Bryant noted that all athletes who enter the Hall of Fame “had to sacrifice a part of their lives to dedicate more time to their craft.” She shared how for her husband, his dedication was “on a different level,” as he played through several injuries — and it was all for his fans.
“People don’t know this but one of the reasons my husband played through injuries and pain was because he said he remembered being a little kid, sitting in the nosebleeds with his dad to watch his favorite player play,” Bryant said, nodding to Jordan standing by her. “He could recall the car ride, the conversations and the excitement of being lucky enough to have a seat in the arena. Kobe didn’t want to disappoint his fans, especially the ones that saved up to watch him play. The kids with the same excitement he once had.”
You can watch her speech below: