Basketball legend Kobe Bryant, whom we lost alongside his daughter Gianna back in January 2020, was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame on May 15th. His wife, Vanessa Bryant, accepted the award on his behalf and delivered a moving speech.

Vanessa was accompanied by Michael Jordan, who introduced Kobe. The two basketball superstars were close friends for a long time. Kobe idolized and shaped his career after Jordan, while Jordan saw Kobe as a little brother.

Vanessa thanked Jordan for accepting her request to introduce her late husband, saying, “Kobe admired you. This means so much to us.” She then moved on to celebrating her husband, stressing how much Kobe and their daughter Gianna were looking forward to being here.

Kobe and Vanessa share four children — Natalia Bryant, Gianna Bryant, Bianka Bryant, and Capri Kobe Bryant. Vanessa added that the late Lakers star had asked the Hall of Fame to add a sixth ticket for his youngest daughter Capri. 

Vanessa thanked all the people who helped Kobe on and off the court, remembering him not just as a basketball legend but also as a loving husband and father.

His most cherished accomplishment was being the very best girl dad. I want to thank him for somehow finding ways to dedicate time to not only being an incredible athlete, a visionary, entrepreneur, and storyteller but for also being an amazing family man. Dear Kobe, thank you for being the best husband and father you could possibly be.

She also thanked two of her oldest daughters, Natalia and Gianna, who sacrificed their time with Kobe to focus on what he did best. Vanessa concluded her speech, congratulating her husband for being a true champ and an all-time great.

Aside from Kobe’s posthumous honor, the ceremony also inducted basketball stars Patrick Baumann, Tim Duncan, Kevin Garnett, Tamika Catchings, Barbara Stevens, Eddie Sutton, Rudy Tomjanovich, and Kim Mulkey.

Just a day prior, on May 14, Vanessa and her daughter Natalia were presented with Kobe’s Hall of Fame jacket and ring. Vanessa placed them on her daughter while the crowd cheered and chanted the late basketball icon’s name.

Kobe’s Helicopter Crash

Kobe died in a helicopter crash back on January 26, 2020, along with his 13-year-old daughter Gianna. Six other passengers, including the pilot, also lost their lives in the tragic accident.

The 5-time NBA champion was headed to his Sports Academy in Thousand Oaks for his daughter’s tournament. The other unlucky passengers in the air vehicle also included Gianna’s coaches and two teammates.

ESPN reported that the crash happened after the group encountered thick fog in the San Fernando Valley of Los Angeles.