The Sport Effect

Kobe Bryant among eight finalists for Basketball Hall of Fame

CHICAGO — The checklist of finalists for the Basketball Hall of Fame is noticeably shorter than common.

The voters really didn’t need a lot more this 12 months.

Kobe Bryant, Tim Duncan and Kevin Garnett — forty eight All-Star nods between them — headlined the class of eight finalists announced Friday by the Hall of Fame. Each individual will nonetheless need to obtain eighteen votes from a 24-human being panel right before formally turning out to be Hall of Famers, which is unquestionably no a lot more than a formality at this position.

In recent many years, finalist classes have been around 13 folks. But the star electric power at the best forced the Hall to change its contemplating this 12 months, a final decision that was produced right before Bryant died unexpectedly in a helicopter crash in Southern California on Jan. 26.

“We did it for the reason that of the enormity, even right before Kobe’s demise, that we feel Kobe and Duncan and Garnett convey to it,” stated Jerry Colangelo, Chairman of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. “We’ve in no way had a class that solid at the best. And then, of class, with Kobe’s demise it additional a lot more aim.”

Bryant, Duncan, Garnett and ten-time WNBA All-Star and four-time Olympic gold medalist Tamika Catchings are all initial-time finalists. The other finalists have all been to this position formerly: Baylor women’s coach Kim Mulkey, previous Houston Rockets coach Rudy Tomjanovich, 5-time Division II women’s coach of the 12 months Barbara Stevens of Bentley, and four-time national men’s university coach of the 12 months Eddie Sutton.

Kobe Bryant
Kobe BryantReuters

This year’s enshrinement class will be announced on April 4 at university basketball’s Remaining 4 in Atlanta. The induction ceremony in Springfield, Massachusetts is Aug. 29.

“Hall of Famer is one thing you do not really feel about, you do not really dream about,” Garnett stated. “It just occurs. … This is just one of the a lot more too much to handle cases I’ve ever been in.”

Bryant was an eighteen-time All-Star and 5-time NBA winner for the duration of a twenty-12 months career with the Los Angeles Lakers, a two-time Olympic gold medalist and is the No. 4 scorer in league background. He died with his 13-12 months-previous daughter Gianna and seven other people as the group was on its way to a basketball tournament past thirty day period.

The Hall is hoping to obtain a way to strike extremely different tones this 12 months: Celebrating the new Hall of Famers, even though also having to pay tribute to giants of the sport who have died in recent months — Bryant, previous NBA Commissioner David Stern and famous significant college coach Morgan Wootten among them.

“There’s a good sensitivity … but it is likely to be done the right way,” Colangelo stated.

Catchings is also a earlier WNBA MVP, received a national championship beneath coach Pat Summitt at Tennessee and was a four-time All-American with the Lady Vols.

“I’m just so blessed,” Catchings stated. “I’m so grateful.”

The Hall also announced its Curt Gowdy Media Award recipients for this 12 months: sportswriter and commentator Michael Wilbon, who spent three decades at The Washington Publish and now is with ESPN, and longtime NBA enjoy-by-enjoy commentator Mike Breen — the voice of the NBA Finals.