Kobe Bryant's family faced a bittersweet moment after the late NBA star was included in the Basketball Hall of Fame for the year 2020.
The 41-year-old Los Angeles Lakers legend was one of the three NBA superstars who defined the first two decades of the century, leading them to land in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.
The so-called "Black Mamba" will be inducted as part of the class of 2020, alongside fellow NBA stars Tim Duncan and Kevin Garnett.
Other sports icon on the Hall of Fame includes WNBA All-Star Tamika Catchings, Baylor University coach Kim Mulkey, Bentley University five-time Division II coach of the year Barbara Stevens, four-time NCAA coach of the year Eddie Sutton, and former Houston Rockets coach Rudy Tomjanovich.
Vanessa Bryant's Reaction
In an interview with ESPN, Kobe's widow, Vanessa, and their 17-year-old eldest daughter Natalia got emotional talking about the latest achievement of the Bryant family's patriarch.
"It's an incredible accomplishment and honor, and we're extremely proud of him," Vanessa said in a virtual interview.
"Obviously, we wish that he was here with us to celebrate. But it's definitely the peak of his NBA career, and every accomplishment that he had as an athlete was a stepping stone to be here," Vanessa added while trying to hold back her tears.
The 37-year-old "Queen Mamba" said that the whole family, including 3-year-old Bianka and 9-month-old Capri, are incredibly proud of Kobe.
"We're incredibly proud of him and rest in solace knowing that he was probably going to be a part of the 2020 Hall of Fame class," Vanessa shared.
Meanwhile, the Lakers also expressed their happiness about Kobe's latest achievement and said: "All of us can trust that this basketball Hall of Fame honor is one Kobe would, and will, deeply appreciate."
Later the same day, the mother-of-four shared a video montage from the Hall of Fame, highlighting Kobe's 20-year legendary basketball career.
The short clip also includes an excerpt from Vanessa and Natalia's interview with ESPN.
"I love and miss you so much, Papi," Vanessa wrote on the caption, adding a heart emoji.
Kobe's 20 Years of Success
Many believed that with Kobe's stellar basketball career, he is bound to be on the Hall of Fame. He just had to wait for the mandatory five years before being eligible for the induction.
Kobe is considered the greatest Lakers player for bagging an MVP award,two NBA Finals MVP plums, and five championships. He also scored a whopping 33,643 points in his career.
Kobe and the eight other sports icons will be officially inducted on August 29 at Springfield, Massachusetts.
Kobe's Tragic Death
Kobe and his 13-year-old daughter Gianna died in a tragic helicopter crash on January 26 together with seven other passengers. The crew was en route to a basketball tournament at the NBA star's very own Mamba Academy when the helicopter they were riding crashed in Calabasas, California.
The tragic accident also took the lives of baseball coach John Altobelli, his wife, Keri, and daughter Alyssa; mother and daughter Sarah and Payton Chester; basketball coach Christina Mauser; and pilot Ara Zobayan.