It has been 15 months since Kobe Bryant died in a helicopter crash, but his Hall of Fame enshrinement was no less emotional.
Vanessa Bryant, the wife of the Los Angeles Lakers legend, accepted the honor on behalf of her late husband on Saturday, one year later than planned due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Her speech was preceded by the rest of the greatest Hall of Fame class in basketball history and she was escorted by Michael Jordan, but the moment was firmly her's as she again eulogized a man whose death remains surreal.
Here's the whole thing:
Bryant opened the speech by thanking Jordan (who was pulling double duty after presenting LSU coach Kim Mulkey), then joked how she would try to publicly avoid praising her husband because she "felt like he got enough praise from his fans.
As she proceeded to praise her husband on one of the most public stages in basketball, things got briefly NSFW:
— Viral Sports (@NotScTop10plays) May 15, 2021
Bryant remembered her husband's famous drive and passion for the game, recalling how he took free throws on a torn Achilles and always being aware of how much his presence meant to fans. She also noted the olive branch he extended toward his own parents, with whom he had a notable turbulent relationship. His parents were in attendance at his invitation.
Kobe's accomplishments off the court were also remembered, including his Oscar win, bestselling books and, most of all, raising four daughters.
"I want to thank him for somehow finding ways to dedicate time to not only being an incredible athlete, a visionary entrepreneur and storyteller, but for also being an amazing family man," Bryant said. "Dear Kobe, thank you for being the best husband and father you could possibly be. Thank you for growing and learning from your own mistakes. Thank you for always trying to be better."
Bryant closed her speech with one more direct address to her husband:
Vanessa Bryant's message for Kobe at the end of her Hall of Fame speech 💜💛
"I love you forever and always Kobe Bean Bryant." pic.twitter.com/5pSkrNxMkX
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) May 16, 2021
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