This year’s Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame class will feature some of the iconic players we’ve witnessed for the past 20 years as Tim Duncan, Kevin Garnett, and the late Kobe Bryant headline the batch.
The trio will be joined by 10-time WNBA All-Star Tamika Catchings who played for the Indiana Fever, three-time NCAA Women’s champion coach Kim Mulkey of Baylor, five-time D2 coach of the year Barbara Stevens of Bentley University, four-time NCAA coach of the year Eddie Sutton, and former Houston Rockets coach Rudy Tomjanovich, a two-time NBA championship winner.
Bryant, Duncan, and Garnett were the surefire candidates the moment they became eligible given it has been more than four years since their retirement.
We can expect Tim Duncan and Kevin Garnett to give out their respective speeches but sadly, we can’t say the same for Kobe Bryant since he and his 13-year-old daughter died in a tragic helicopter crash towards the end of January.
Nonetheless, all of their careers should be celebrated and respect for them is due. So for today, let’s take a look at their achievements and their contributions in growing the game of basketball.
He’s the greatest Spur of all time and definitely one of the best at his position. Tim Duncan, since his arrival in 1997, has been a godsend for the San Antonio Spurs.
The Spurs back then were a decent team in the 1990’s led by David Robinson. However, they couldn’t get over the hump since the Bulls and Rockets have dominated the decade. And after an injury-riddled season back in 1997, San Antonio looked to be doomed for mediocrity.
But everything changed when they got the top overall pick in the lottery the next summer and they wisely selected Tim Duncan, who is fresh from a stellar collegiate career playing for Wake Forest.
He and David Robinson would form a dangerous combo at the frontcourt that would put the league on notice. Two years after Duncan’s arrival, the Spurs won their first title in franchise history by defeating the New York Knicks.
Duncan would further cement his status as one of the best big men of the league as he would lead San Antonio to so many playoff appearances along with several more titles. All in all, he has won five championships and was named the Finals MVP three times.
The Virgin Islands native also won the MVP twice in 2002 and 2003, plus he is a 15-time NBA All-Star and an eight-time NBA All-Defensive First Team member.
A consummate professional and a great teammate, Duncan is known for his stoic demeanour and strong leadership which warrants his Hall of Fame selection.
Kevin Garnett’s resume may pale in comparison with Kobe Bryant and Tim Duncan. However, his impact to the game will never be forgotten.
With his intensity and defencive chops, Kevin Garnett is one opponent you wouldn’t want to mess with on any given night.
He has won a title and an MVP award, plus he was named to 15 All-Star teams during his time playing for the Minnesota Timberwolves, Boston Celtics, and the Brooklyn Nets.
Garnett spent the majority of his career early on with the Timberwolves. And despite having a lacklustre supporting cast for the most part, the energetic forward made the best of his situation by leading them to the playoffs almost every year.
Everything changed, however, when he was traded to the Celtics in 2007.
Teaming up with fellow All-Stars in Paul Pierce and Ray Allen, he would finally get his championship glory in his first year in Boston. His team also made it to the finals two years after.
He would finally find his way back to Minnesota after a brief stint with Brooklyn and eventually retired in 2016.
“This is the culmination. All those hours, this is what you do it for, right here. For me, to be called a Hall of Famer, is everything,” said Kevin Garnett.
Many SBOTOP fans were shocked when the NBA 2020 news broke about Kobe Bryant’s passing. But nonetheless, he is expected to make it to the Hall of Fame anyway.
The shooting guard out of Lower Merion High School enjoyed a fruitful career with the Los Angeles Lakers. Bryant was a five-time champion, an MVP, an 18-time NBA All-Star, and a 15-time All-NBA First Team member.
Over these past few months, every basketball fan around the world paid tribute to the fallen legend in various ways. Current NBA players also did their part by turning in outstanding performances midway during the 2020 season.
“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. We wish that he was here with us to celebrate,” said Vanessa Bryant.
The Lakers — who have one of the highest NBA 2020 odds of winning the title this season — are now led by LeBron James, who is expected to carry on the legacy of the Black Mamba.
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