California: Los Angeles Lakers legend Kobe Bryant, who died in a helicopter crash in January last year, was inducted posthumously into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame on Saturday.
The American basketball icon was inducted with the Class of 2020. Bryant died along with his 13-year-old daughter Gianna. He had won five National Basketball Association (NBA) championships in his 20-year-long career while playing for Los Angeles Lakers. Bryant's wife, Vanessa Bryant praised the five-time NBA champion during the acceptance speech.
"Kobe was on a different level. He never took shortcuts when it came to basketball, he gave this game his all. He never forgot about his fans. If he could help it, he would play every minute of every game. He loved you all so much," said Vanessa in a video posted on the NBA Youtube channel.
Vanessa also mentioned that Bryant would have expressed gratitude towards people who doubted his abilities if was alive today.
"Kobe would thank everyone who helped him get here, including the people that doubted him and the people who worked against him and told him he couldn't attain his goals," she said.
"Dear Kobe, thank you for being the best husband and father you could possibly be. Thank you for always trying to be better. Thank you for never giving upon us. Thank you for all of your hard work," Vanessa added.
Bryant became one of NBA's most popular players and the face of the Lakers during his career. Winning a record four NBA All-Star Game MVP awards, he was the overall league MVP in 2008, a two-time NBA scoring champion, and 12 All-Defensive selections.
He teamed with Shaquille O'Neal in a combustible partnership to lead the Lakers to NBA titles in 2000, 2001, and 2002. He later teamed with Pau Gasol to win two more titles in 2009 and 2010.