At a time when the sports world needs something to cling to, even the most star-studded basketball Hall of Fame class will have its energy dampened a bit later this year.
On Saturday, an eight-person list of enshrinement members of the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame was release, including the late, great L.A. Laker Kobe Bryant, who was killed in a helicopter crash Jan. 26 in California.
Bryant will be joined by the San Antonio Spurs’ Tim Duncan and Kevin Garnett, who broke in with the Minnesota Timberwolves and also played with the Brooklyn Nets and won a championship with the Boston Celtics.
The class, scheduled to be inducted Aug, 29 in Springfield, Mass. — but who knows anything anymore about future schedules — also includes 10-time WNBA All-Star Tamika Catchings, three-time NCAA women’s champion Coach Kim Mulkey of Baylor, five-time Division II coach of the year Barbara Stevens of Bentley University, four-time NCAA coach of the year and Oklahoma State legend Eddie Sutton, and former Houston Rockets coach Rudy Tomjanovich, a two-time NBA title winner.
Usually the announcement of the Hall class takes place during Final Four weekend, so it was a rare piece of curretn good news during a stoppage in the sports world thanks to the coronavirus pandemic.
While Garnett (1995, the first in 20 years) and Bryant (1996) were drafted in the first round of the NBA Draft right out of high school in successive years, Duncan played all four years at Wake Forest before being drafted in 1997. Bryant (20 years) and Duncan (19) are behind only Dallas’ Dirk Nowitzki (21) for years spent with one NBA franchise.
Garnett is one of only four players to win MVP and Defensive Player of the Year. Kobe teamed with Shaquille O’Neal to form a historic 1-2 punch and then years later managed to win back-to-back titles without Shaq. And Duncan teamed with fellow Hall of Famer David Robinson to win five NBA titles; the three players combined to take home 11 trophies and four league MVP awards.