Kobe Bryant did it all during his illustrious 20-year career with the Los Angeles Lakers. He won five NBA championships and was named Finals MVP in two of those runs, he led the league in scoring twice, made 15 All-NBA, 12 All-Defensive and 18 All-Star teams, and was voted the league MVP in 2008.
It should come as no surprise, then, that Bryant will be one of the 50 names on the star-studded ballot for the 2020 Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame class. This is Bryant’s first year being eligible for a Basketball Hall of Fame nomination and, coincidentally, his first nomination. Other notable first-year, first-time nominees include Chris Bosh, Kevin Garnett and Tim Duncan.
Bryant beat Garnett and Duncan en route to winning two of his five championship rings. He and the Lakers also beat Shawn Marion and Chris Webber — two returning hall of fame candidates — in the playoffs. Marion got his revenge in 2011, though, when the Dallas Mavericks beat swept the Lakers in the Western Conference semifinals. Chauncey Billups, another returning candidate, got the best of Bryant’s Lakers in the postseason, too.
But unfortunately for Marion and Billups, the Hall of Fame doesn’t take into account matchups with other nominees, so they’ll likely have to wait another year to put on that orange jacket in Springfield. They were good, for sure, but Bryant was in a class of his own, and barring an unprecedented amount of distain among the voters next year, he’ll be in the 2020 basketball hall of fame class.
Longtime Lakers assistant coach Bill Bertka was also nominated, although he’ll be on the contributor committee ballot alongside notable names like broadcaster Marv Albert. Bertka has been with the Lakers for 46 seasons and has won 10 championships with the team during that time. He also has been a key part of the organization’s scouting operation, even at age 92, most recently spearheading the argument for the team to draft then-little-known Utah forward Kyle Kuzma in 2017.
This summer, Winter was honored with the Tex Winter Assistant Coach Lifetime Impact Award, and has as good of a chance as anyone in his pool to make the cut.
The finalists will be announced in February, and the class will be unveiled in April.