Kobe Bryant once called Michael Jordan the ideal candidate to present him into the Basketball Hall of Fame. The late, great Los Angeles Lakers legend will get his wish.
The Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame announced its list of presenters for the 2020 class on Thursday, with Jordan named to present Bryant in a fitting posthumous tribute.
The induction ceremony, delayed by a year due to the coronavirus pandemic, will take place on May 15 in Uncasville, Connecticut. Bryant was selected for induction as a first-year eligible in November, 10 months after he and his daughter, Gianna, died in a helicopter crash in California.
Bryant called Jordan among his biggest influences during his 20-year playing career in which he compiled the fourth-highest points total in NBA history and led the Lakers to five championships, one less than his idol won with the Chicago Bulls. When asked by Complex magazine in a 2017 interview who he would want to enshrine him into the Hall of Fame, the 18-time All-Star quickly mentioned both Jordan and his former Lakers coach, Phil Jackson.
Though their playing careers only overlapped by four years, Jordan and Bryant developed a lasting friendship that was evident when Jordan gave an emotional speech during Bryant’s memorial service in February 2020.
Jordan will also be presenting Baylor women’s coach Kim Mulkey during next month’s ceremonies, while several other of his Hall of Fame contemporaries will be part of the festivities.
Some of the other notable presenters include David Robinson, who will induct former San Antonio Spurs team-mate Tim Duncan. Isiah Thomas will present Kevin Garnett, while Hakeem Olajuwon will be the co-presenter for his former Houston Rockets coach, Rudy Tomjanovich, along with Rockets great Calvin Murphy.
The full class of 2020 inductees consists of Bryant, Mulkey, Duncan, Garnett, Tomjanovich, long-time FIBA executive Patrick Baumann, former WNBA star Tamika Catchings, former Division II national champion coach Barbara Stevens and ex-college coach Eddie Sutton.