In a time of grief, Vanessa Bryant has found a reason to celebrate.
On Saturday (April 4), Kobe Bryant's wife spoke to ESPN via FaceTime about her late husband's recent election into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.
“It’s an incredible accomplishment and honor, and we’re extremely proud of him," Vanessa said with her 17-year-old daughter Natalia by her side. "Obviously we wish that he was here with us to celebrate. But it’s definitely the peak of his NBA career and every accomplishment that he had as an athlete was a stepping stone to be here.”
She added, “We’re incredibly proud of him and rest in solace knowing that he was probably going to be a part of the 2020 Hall of Fame class."
Vanessa additionally shared a touching tribute video to Kobe on Instagram, which she captioned: "I love and miss you so much, Papi. ❤️#HallofFame @kobebryant @espn."
Kobe and his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna, were among nine people killed in a helicopter crash in California on January 26.
The basketball legend, who played his 20-season professional career in the NBA with the Los Angeles Lakers, was 41 and in his first year of eligibility for the Hall of Fame at the time of his passing.
"No amount of words can fully describe what Kobe Bryant meant to the Los Angeles Lakers," team owner Jeanie Buss said in a statement following the Hall of Fame announcement. "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."
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