On Saturday (May 15), Vanessa Bryant, the widow of NBA superstar Kobe Bryant, delivered a heartfelt speech during her late husband’s posthumous induction into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.
“You once told me, if you’re going to bet on someone, bet on yourself,” Bryant said. “I’m glad you bet on yourself, you overachiever. You did it. You’re in the Hall of Fame now. You’re a true champ. You’re not just an MVP. You’re an all-time great. I’m so proud of you. I love you forever and always.”
Bryant was inducted as part of the Class of 2020, but the ceremony was postponed last year because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The class also included NBA superstars like five-time NBA champion Tim Duncan of the San Antonio Spurs and Kevin Garnett, who won a championship with the Boston Celtics.
Bryant won five championships as a member of the Los Angeles Lakers, where he spent his entire 20-year career. He retired in 2016 ranked 3rd in points in NBA history (now 4th after LeBron James passed him the day before he died).
While Bryant’s accomplishments in the NBA and internationally are too numerous to list, his widow says his most important achievement was “being a girl-dad” to four daughters, Bianka, Capri, Natalia and Gianna.
On January 26, 2020, Kobe and 13-year-old Gianna were killed with seven other people when their helicopter crashed in Calabasas, California.
Vanessa Bryant and her oldest daughter Natalia accepted Kobe’s Hall of Fame class jacket and ring on his behalf during the Hall of Fame ceremony.
James, who joined the Lakers organization in 2018, said it was a “beautiful thing” to see Vanessa put Kobe’s Hall of Fame jacket on Natalia.