Kobe Bryant is on the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame list of finalists for enshrinement this year.
Bryant was in his first year of eligibility. Other notable names on the list with Bryant, a five-time NBA champion and the fourth all-time leading scorer in league history, are former San Antonio Spurs center Tim Duncan; Kevin Garnett, a 15-time all-star who played primarily for the Minnesota Timberwolves; and former WNBA superstar and four-time Olympic gold medalist Tamika Catchings.
Hall of Fame officials released the list of finalists Friday afternoon. The people who will be in inducted in August will be revealed in April at the NCAA men’s Final Four in Atlanta.
Bryant, his 13-year-old daughter Gianna and seven others were killed in a helicopter crash in Southern California on the morning of January 26 as they traveled to a basketball tournament.
In December his name was included in the list of 50 men on the preliminary ballot for the hall. A former player becomes eligible to be enshrined when he or she is in their fourth season of retirement.
Other finalists are former Houston Rockets coach Rudy Tomjanovich, and former college coaches Kim Mulkey of Baylor, Barbara Stevens of Bentley University and Eddie Sutton, who coached Oklahoma State and three other schools to the men’s NCAA tournament.
The Hall of Fame announced four committees would not put forth nominees for induction this year.
“The goal of this suspension is to provide each enshrinee with the recognition … he or she deserves upon election,” officials said in a news release. The reason was the “magnitude and the unique circumstance surrounding the potential Class of 2020,” it said.
By Steve Almasy, CNN