The sixty-first annual Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame Enshrinement Ceremony honored nine new Hall of Fame members Saturday night. The event is named after James Naismith, who invented basketball in 1891. Naismith also went on to invent the original rule book for the sport and started the first basketball program for the University of Kansas.
Saturday’s ceremony was held for the 2020 inductees, as last year’s event was canceled due to COVID-19 restrictions.
The three main highlights of the evening included basketball legends Kevin Garnett, Tim Duncan, and the late Kobe Bryant. Other inductees included Rudy Tomjanovich, Tamika Catchings, and Kim Mulkey.
Click here to view the full inductee list.
Kevin Garnett was the first of the big three to be inducted.
In his speech, Garnett, who was inducted by former NBA superstar Isaiah Thomas, spoke about how excited he was to receive his nomination, and what an honor it was to be in the same class as Duncan and Bryant.
Garnett is a 15-time all-star, was the 2003-2004 Most Valuable Player (MVP), and led the Boston Celtics to their seventeenth title in franchise history, which he accomplished within one year of joining the Celtics.
Later in the evening, Tim Duncan was inducted by former teammate David Robinson. Duncan’s speech focused heavily on his journey as a player, highlighting all of the obstacles he had to overcome as a child to get to the level he was in the NBA.
The San Antonio Spurs legend is a 15-time all-star, was a two-time MVP, and led the Spurs to five championships in his 19 years there. Duncan remains the only player in NBA history to have over 1,000 wins with just one team. He ended his career with 1,001 wins.
The night’s last inductee was the late Kobe Bryant of the Los Angeles Lakers. Bryant was represented by his wife, Vanessa Bryant, and inducted by his hero, the great Michael Jordan.
Bryant is an 18-time all-star, won the 2007-2008 season MVP, and won five championships with the Lakers. Bryant, 41, passed away last January in a helicopter crash along with his daughter Gigi Bryant, 13. Bryant had been accepted into the Hall of Fame prior to his death.
Vanessa spoke of all of her husband’s amazing achievements both on and off the court, as well as how much he meant to his fans and to his family.
The night closed with Hall of Fame chairman Jerry Colangelo congratulating and officially enshrining all of the inductees.
Next year’s inductee list will be announced on Sunday, May 16.