Even though there aren’t any games to report on or analyze due to suspended play in the NBA season, it doesn’t mean there isn’t anything happening. This weekend the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame unveiled the eight inductees who will be honoured later this summer.
The headliners of the class of 2020 include NBA players, Kobe Bryant, Tim Duncan and Kevin Garnett. Joining the three NBA all-stars are WNBA champion and ten-time all-star Tamika Catchings, former Houston Rockets coach and two-time champion Rudy Tomjanovich, former college coach Eddie Sutton, former women’s college basketball coach Barbara Stevens, current Baylor University women’s basketball coach Kim Mulkey and former FIBA executive, Patrick Baumann.
Bryant, who along with his daughter Gianna and seven other occupants. was tragically killed in a helicopter crash back in January. He spent 19 seasons in the league al with the Los Angeles Lakers. Known as the Black Mamba for his killer instinct type of competitiveness, he is considered among the best players of all-time.
Among his career highlights: He is a five-time NBA champion, two-time Finals Most Valuable Player, a league MVP in 2008, an 18-time all-star selection, a 15 time All-NBA team selection for either the First, Second or Third Teams and a 12-time all-defensive NBA First or Second Team selection.
He also led the league in scoring twice and has two jerseys retired by the Lakers (numbers 8 and 24). Vanessa Bryant told ESPN on Saturday “It’s an incredible accomplishment and honor, and we’re extremely proud of him,”. “Every accomplishment that he had as an athlete was a stepping stone to be here.”
Duncan, who currently serves as an assistant coach for the team he played for the San Antonio Spurs has an impressive resume as well. Like Bryant, he also won five NBA championships as a player. Among his other career accolades include being a three-time MVP Finals selection, a two-time league MVP (2002-2003), a 15-time all-star include winning the game MVP in 2000, a 15 time All-NBA team selection for either the First, Second or Third Teams and a 15-time all-defensive NBA First or Second Team selection.
He was called “The Big Fundamental” because he kept his play simple and efficient. That style which began with his winning the Rookie of the Year in 1998 and parlaying it into having his number 21 jersey retired by the Spurs in 2016.
Garnett, who was known as “The Big Ticket” split his 21 NBA season with three franchises, the Minnesota Timberwolves, the Boston Celtics and the Brooklyn Nets. He was known as an intense competitor and brash trash talker. But his resume more than speaks for itself.
He has only one championship ring which he earned with the Celtics in 2008. but he was selected as the league MVP in 2004, as well as being a 15-time all-star, a nine-time All-NBA First, Second or Third team recipient, and a 12-time all-defensive NBA First or Second Team selection. Garnett also led the league in rebounding for four seasons from 2004-2007.
These three legends along with the other 2020 Hall of Fame class members likely comprise one of the best all-around classes ever to be enshrined in the same year. The ceremony is scheduled to take place in Springfield, Massachusetts on August 29th. That date may be subject to change due to the COVID-19 pandemic in which case the HOF committee may plan for a date later in the calendar year.