Los Angeles Lakers icon Kobe Bryant was posthumously inducted into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame on Saturday night, with Vanessa Bryant delivering a speech that reminded everyone of the legend’s impact on the world.
More than a year after Bryant and eight others, including his 13-year-old daughter Gianna, were killed in a helicopter crash, the NBA legend officially joined basketball immortality with two of the most important people in his life there on his behalf.
The NBA was forced to postpone inducting its 2020 Hall of Fame class due to the COVID-19 pandemic. But at long last, the basketball world had its night to remember Kobe on Saturday.
Vanessa Bryant took the stage, with Michael Jordan at her side, delivering a speech that reminded everyone about Kobe’s path to stardom and the man he was away from the court. On an emotional night, she even found a way to make everyone laugh.
In her husband’s memory, Vanessa made sure to show appreciation for all of the people who helped shake Kobe’s life and career.
“Kobe would thank all of the people who helped him get here, including the people that doubted him. After all, he proved you wrong.” Vanessa Bryant said— philip lewis (@Phil_Lewis_) May 15, 2021
Michael Jordan cracked a big grin at that part of the speech pic.twitter.com/q54J2vmN6a
As she spoke about Kobe’s role as a father and his drive to inspire others, many watching at home couldn’t help but marvel at Vanessa’s strength and courage in such a difficult moment.
Vanessa Bryant. No words will do justice to the strength she's exhibited over these last 16 months.— Lina Washington (@LWashingtonTV) May 15, 2021
Vanessa is holding it together better than any of us watching— Tyler Conway (@jtylerconway) May 15, 2021
The strength of Vanessa Bryant is immeasurable— Corey Hansford (@TheeCoreyH) May 15, 2021
Love MJ escorting Vanessa Bryant up to the stage as she accepts award for the late great Kobe Bryant.— Kelsey Nicole Nelson (KNN) (@therealknelson) May 15, 2021
I don’t know how she does it ❤️— Kayla Grey (@Kayla_Grey) May 15, 2021
I don’t know how long it will be before my heart doesn’t crack a little bit when I look at Vanessa. She’s a strong woman and isn’t defined by Kobe, but for the moment my heart just breaks every single time.— Jemele Hill (@jemelehill) May 15, 2021
Vanessa Bryant: "Congratulations, baby. All of your hard work and sacrifice has paid off. You once told me, if you are going to bet on someone, bet on yourself. I'm glad you bet on yourself, you overachiever."— Lakers Nation (@LakersNation) May 15, 2021
Vanessa Bryant displays so much strength and grace. We all stand behind her.— Kelsey Nicole Nelson (KNN) (@therealknelson) May 15, 2021