Following the announcement that Kobe Bryant will be elected to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, his wife Vanessa Bryant described the achievement as "peak of his NBA career."
"It's an incredible accomplishment and honor, and we're extremely proud of him," Bryant told ESPN, alongside her daughter Natalia.
"Every accomplishment that he had as an athlete was a steppingstone to be here," she added.
"We're incredibly proud of him."- ESPN (@espn) April 4, 2020
Vanessa and Natalia Bryant joined Rece Davis after Kobe's induction into the Basketball Hall of Fame. pic.twitter.com/HX31pyvgPe
Bryant, 41, was tragically killed in a helicopter crash in California, alongside his daughter Gianna (13) and seven other passengers.
Vanessa and Kobe were married for 19 years and had four daughters, Natalia (17), Bianka (3) and Capri (9 months).
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"No amount of words can fully describe what Kobe Bryant meant to the Los Angeles Lakers," said Lakers Governor Jeanie Buss. "Kobe was not only a proven winner and a champion, he gave everything he had to the game of basketball. His fierce competitiveness, work ethic and drive were unmatched. Those qualities helped Kobe lead us to five titles - and have now brought him to the Hall of Fame, where he will be enshrined with the greatest to have ever played the game. No one deserves it more."
"Kobe was always one to downplay his professional accomplishments - MVPs, NBA championships, gold medals, Oscars, and on and on and on," said Lakers Vice President of Basketball Operations and General Manager Rob Pelinka. "But all of us can trust that this Basketball Hall of Fame honor is one Kobe would, and will, deeply appreciate. The highest of congratulations to you, dear friend. This one is so well deserved -- for all the hard work, sweat and toil. Now, a part of you will live in the Hall with the rest of the all-time greats, where your legend and spirit will continue to grow forever."
Bryant, who is first year of eligibility for the Hall of Fame, spent all 20 seasons of his career with the Los Angeles Lakers, winning five NBA championships, one Most Valuable Player of the Year award, two Finals MVP's, earning 15 All-NBA selections and earned 18 All-Star selections.
Over 20 seasons, Bryant averaged 25.0 points, 5.2 rebounds, 4.7 assists and 1.4 steals in 1,346 games and is the league's fourth all-time leading scorer as well as leading Team USA to two Olympic gold medals at the 2008 Beijing and 2012 London Olympic Games.
Both his jersey numbers, 8 and 24 were retired by the Lakers in 2017, making him the first player in NBA history to have two numbers retired by the same team.