We were all ready for an emotional night, as the NBA enrolled some of the biggest names of basketball into the Hall-of-Fame last night, headlined by Kobe Bryant, Tim Duncan, and Kevin Garnett. We had the chance to listen to some great speeches from Tim and KG, but unfortunately, we have been stripped away from “The Mamba,” getting the opportunity to tell the story of his basketball life. Luckily for everybody, Kobe’s wife Vanessa Bryant stepped into his late-husbands shoes and delivered an emotional and heart-warming speech in honor of the great Kobe Bryant with his childhood idol and role model Michael Jordan right behind her. Many people wanted MJ to share a few words, but only one person could have replicated the emotions and words Kobe had in him, and that was the person who knew him the best, his wife.
As the crowd was shouting Kobe’s name, Vanessa started her speech praising Kobe for the first time publically, imagining how much he loves that sight right now in Heaven:
“I used to always avoid praising my husband in public because I felt he got enough praise from his fans around the world. Someone had to bring him back to reality. Right now, I’m sure he’s laughing in Heaven because I’m about to praise him in public for his accomplishments on one of the most public stages. I can see him now, arms folded with a huge grin, saying: ‘Isn’t this some shit?’ He’s still winning.”Vanessa Bryant, via Hall of Fame Enshrinement Speech
She would talk about Kobe’s love for his family and daughters, especially how happy and proud he would be because of this tremendous accomplishment and the gratefulness for the numerous friends stepping up to help Vanessa and her family after the tragic event.
She would also talk about one of Kobe’s most unique and most prominent traits: playing through injuries. Even at his own expense, Kobe wanted to win so much that he toughed it up numerous times and left it all on the court, no matter his psychical state. From knee injuries, broken fingers to a broken Achilles, Kobe played through it all and never sat down if he could still stand. But winning wasn’t the only reason, as Vanessa shared a big reason why he always wanted to suit up:
“People don’t know this, but one of the reasons my husband played through injuries and pain was because he said he remembered being a little kid, sitting in the nosebleeds with his dad to watch his favorite player play…Kobe didn’t want to disappoint his fans, especially the ones in the 300-sections that saved up to watch him play, the kids with the same excitement he once had.”Vanessa Bryant, via Hall of Fame Enshrinement Speech
An honorable mentality by Kobe that understood numerous fans only got one chance in a lifetime to watch him play live, as he did everything he could to put on a show every night for his fans.
His accolades speak for themselves: 5x NBA Champion,18x All-Star, 2x Finals MVP,2x Olympic Gold Medalist, 1xNBA MVP,5x NY-Times best-selling author, and the first athlete ever to win an Oscar. But out of all those awards, the thing he was best at was a father to his daughters, as his wife Vanessa pointed that out. Even though he dedicated his life and basketball to getting better every day, Kobe made sure his daughters never missed a beat without their dad. That is probably his most significant life achievement. Vanessa would conclude her amazing speech with a touching message:
“You did it. You’re in the Hall of Fame now. You’re a true champ. You’re not just an MVP. You’re an all-time great. I’m so proud of you. I love you forever and always. Kobe Bean Bryant.”Vanessa Bryant, via Hall of Fame Enshrinement Speech
The end of the speech would get met with a huge standing ovation from the crowd as Vanessa and Michal walked off the podium. It would fill the gap of Kobe not being at the ceremony, as Vanessa couldn’t have given us a better story and representation of Kobe’s life on the night he got his spot in the most prestigious place of basketball. We all know Kobe was watching and smiling tonight, as the whole world got one more chance to celebrate his legacy and life. Well deserved “Mamba”. Rest easy.