Kobe, Duncan, Garnett headline HOF finalists


Kobe Bryant, Tim Duncan and Kevin Garnett headline the Class of 2020 finalists for the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame, it was announced Friday.

They are joined by 10-time WNBA All-Star Tamika Catchings, Baylor women’s coach Kim Mulkey, 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, who won two NBA titles.

“When the nominees for the Class of 2020 were announced in December, we knew this class had the potential of being one of the most historic of all time,” Hall of Fame chairman Jerry Colangelo said in a statement. “The untimely passing of Kobe Bryant has left us in a state of reflective mourning and we’re proud to honor his legacy while also recognizing seven other individuals who have meant so much to our game.

“We congratulate our finalists and those who have supported them on their journeys, and we look forward to revealing the Class of 2020 at the Final Four in Atlanta.”

Bryant, his 13-year-old daughter Gianna and seven others were killed Jan. 26 when the helicopter they were aboard crashed in Calabasas, California, as they were flying to a basketball tournament where Gianna was to play with her team.

Kobe Bryant was an 18-time All-Star and five-time NBA champion with the Los Angeles Lakers, with whom he spent his entire career. The 11-time All-NBA first-teamer was the 2008 NBA MVP and a two-time winner of the NBA Finals MVP award. He ranks fourth on the career points list (33,643) and famously scored 81 points in a game — the second-most in NBA history.

Duncan was a 15-time All-Star and a five-time champion with the San Antonio Spurs, with whom he also spent his entire career. His resume includes an NBA MVP award, three NBA Finals MVP trophies, eight selections to the NBA All-Defensive first-team and the Rookie of the Year award in 1998. He is ranked in the top 10 all-time in rebounds and blocks.

Garnett was a 15-time All-Star selection in his 21 seasons with the Boston Celtics and Minnesota Timberwolves. The nine-time All-Defensive first-team selection won the 2008 title with the Celtics, led the league in rebounds for four consecutive seasons and won the league’s MVP award in 2004 after leading the NBA in points, field goals made and rebounds.

ESPN’s Michael Wilbon and Mike Breen have been elected into the Hall of Fame as recipients of the Curt Gowdy Media Award. Other recipients this year are Jim Gray and TNT’s “Inside the NBA” show.

The Hall’s Class of 2020 will be made official during the NCAA Final Four in Atlanta on Saturday, April 4. Those who are inducted will be enshrined during ceremonies from Aug. 28-30 in Springfield, Massachusetts.

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