Stephen: Kobe to be inducted to basketball HOF this year, Lebron makes first statement

Kobe Bryant is expected to be inducted into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame later this year after his tragic death in a helicopter crash this past Sunday. The Hall of Fame is reportedly “bypassing the normal election process” in declaring now that the 41-year-old Bryant would be a 2020 inductee. “Kobe Bryant will be a first-ballot enshrinement into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame class of 2020,” The Athletic reporter Shams Charania tweeted Monday.

He also quoted Hall of Fame chairman Jerry Colangelo as saying, “Expected to be arguably the most epic class ever with Kobe, Tim Duncan and Kevin Garnett. Kobe will be honored the way he should be.” Meanwhile, Hall of Fame president and CEO John Doleva told a local Massachusetts outlet on Monday, “Kobe was about to be considered for enshrinement. Certainly he would be a slam dunk to be enshrined…I certainly believe that it will be a unanimous choice to be a member of the class of 2020.” USA Today adds that the rest of the 2020 class is expected to be officially announced in April. Bryant was announced back in December as one of this year’s nominees alongside Duncan, Garnett, Tim Hardaway, and Mugsy Bogues.

LeBron James took to Instagram on Monday to break his public silence following the deaths of good friend Kobe Bryant and daughter Gianna on Sunday in a helicopter crash. “Trying to write something for this post, but every time I try I begin crying again just thinking about you, niece Gigi and the friendship/bond/brotherhood we had!” the 35-year-old James wrote alongside several pics of him and Bryant. “I literally just heard your voice Sunday morning before I left Philly to head back to LA. Didn’t think for one bit in a million years that would be the last conversation we’d have…I’m heartbroken and devastated, my brother!! I love you, big bro.” James also promised to “continue your legacy…it’s my responsibility to put this s**t on my back and keep it going!! Please give me the strength from the heavens above and watch over me!” James ended his touching post by writing “Until we meet again my brother!!” along with the hashtags “#Mamba4Life” and “#Gigi4Life.”

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