Kobe Bryant Collage

Mamba Forever, Hall of Famer Forever

by Taylor Geas

Today, Kobe Bryant entered the Naismith Memorial Hall of Fame, to be eternalized as one of the best basketball players to have ever played the game. He became what he had hoped he would, “A player that didn’t waste a moment, didn’t waste a day.”

Kobe is a part of the 2020 class of inductees including Patrick Baumann, Tamika Catchings, Tim Duncan, Kevin Garnett, Kim Mulkey, Barbara Stevens, Eddie Sutton, and Rudy Tomjanovich.

In his tireless quest to always become “better today than [he] was yesterday,” his enshrinement is proof; Kobe will never stop achieving.

But his greatest achievement, Kobe’s greatest legacy, is his family. His daughter, Natalia Bryant received his Hall of Fame Inductee jacket and ring on her father’s behalf yesterday. And his wife, Vanessa Bryant accepted his honor today alongside Kobe’s idol and friend, Michael Jordan.

She spoke on behalf of Kobe with resounding strength — in true, Queen Mamba fashion. Vanessa said, “If my husband were here tonight, he’d have a long list of people to thank that helped inspire him.” She thanked Kobe’s parents, “Pam and Joe, thank you for raising Kobe to be exceptional.” Vanessa thanked those that supported Kobe along the way, as well as those that didn’t, saying the doubters motivated Kobe and ultimately, “He proved you all wrong.”

But then strength took on new depths. And Vanessa said what everyone’s been wanting to say, she thanked Kobe. “I want to thank my husband, he did the work, he broke those records and he inspired people to be great,” she declared.

Vanessa recognized Kobe’s excellence in every capacity:

“Dear Kobe, thank you for being the best husband and father you could possibly be.”

“Thank you for learning and growing.”

“Thank you for putting your love for our family first.”

“Thank you for inspiring us to be better.”

“Thank you for teaching me and all of us to put someone else’s joy before our own.”

Kobe’s legacy has so many layers. Basketball was where his quest began, and from there, his hunger and his vision grew. He learned and then conquered so many other realms of life and instilled something in everyone that watched him along the way. A published author, the first professional athlete to win an Oscar, a CEO, a coach, a husband, a girl dad — his transcendence into greatness was always destined, and it all started with basketball.

Kobe had asked, “How does our story impact others?” Now, the world is constantly reminded of his profound impact. Along the way of his journey to the Hall of Fame, Kobe became a source of great power for all persons in any sport — in any circumstance. He’s not just an MVP, “you’re an all-time great.” Vanessa said.

Thank you, Kobe.

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