Michael Jordan to present Kobe Bryant's Hall of Fame induction

Los Angeles Lakers legend Kobe Bryant. (Jae C. Hong/AP)

Michael Jordan will be the presenter for Kobe Bryant's posthumous induction into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame on May 15.

In this year's ceremony, each member of the Class of 2020 will be inducted by one or more Hall of Famer.

Perhaps no one is better suited to welcome the late Bryant into the ranks of basketball immortality than Jordan, who Bryant himself once named to his two-person list of those he'd want to be his presenters.

"In terms of who might present, for me it’s two people: Michael Jordan or Phil Jackson," Bryant told Complex in 2017. They’ve been the greatest mentors, not only in my career as an athlete, but also as a person. And what I might say is just a lot of thank yous. ‘Cause I’ve had a lotta help along the way. A lotta, lotta help."

From the start of his storied 20-year career with the Los Angeles Lakers to its end, Bryant openly considered Jordan his hero, his fiercely competitive on-court ideal to aspire toward, the one who showed him what greatness looked like and who he won five NBA championships trying to catch up to in the eyes of history.

Since the death of Bryant, his daughter Gianna, and seven others in a January 2020 helicopter crash, the friendship Bryant and Jordan shared has become more public, too.

During the memorial service for Kobe and Gianna, a teary-eyed Jordan recounted stories of when Kobe would call him late at night to talk about post-up moves, footwork and Jackson's triangle offence. In the beginning, Jordan said, the calls were an aggravation. In time, he recognized they really just meant he had a kindred spirit out there.

“Maybe it surprised people that Kobe and I were very close friends, but we were very close friends,” Jordan said. “Kobe was my dear friend. He was like a little brother. Everyone always wanted to talk about the comparisons between he and I. I just wanted to talk about Kobe.”

Joining Bryant as NBA player inductees in the Class of 2020 are Tim Duncan and Kevin Garnett, a trio that holds a combined 48 All-Star Game selections and 11 NBA championships between them. Duncan will be presented by David Robinson, and Kevin Garnett will be presented by Isiah Thomas.

Two-time NBA champion coach Rudy Tomjanovich will enter the Hall as well, as will longtime Baylor women’s coach Kim Mulkey, 1,000-game winner Barbara Stevens of Bentley and three-time Final Four coach Eddie Sutton. The late Patrick Baumann, a former FIBA secretary general who died in October 2018, was chosen to enter the Hall by the international committee.

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