Michael Jordan was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2009, but he will return to the stage in 2021 to welcome another star into the storied venue. The six-time NBA Champion is set to present the late Kobe Bryant during the 2021 Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame induction ceremony.
Prior to his untimely death last year, Jordan and Bryant shared a special bond. Speaking at his funeral last year, Jordan explained how a young Bryant used to launch dozens of questions at him whenever they met.
"He used to call me, text me, 11:30, 2:30, 3 o'clock in the morning, talking about post-up moves, footwork, and sometimes, the triangle. At first, it was an aggravation. But then it turned into a certain passion. This kid had passion like you would never know," Jordan told a packed crowd at the Staples Center.
"What Kobe Bryant was to me was the inspiration that someone truly cared about the way either I played the game or the way that he wanted to play the game. He wanted to be the best basketball player that he could be. And as I got to know him, I wanted to be the best big brother that I could be."
Bryant will be joined by a number of his contemporaries at this year's induction ceremony. First-ballot nominees Kevin Garnett and Tim Duncan will also be inducted in to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. Also, WNBA legend Tamika Catchings, NBA Champion Rudy Tomjanovich and college basketball visionary Eddie Sutton will be inducted into the hall of fame.
The Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame's "Enshrinement Weekend" will kick off on May 13. Bryant, along with Garnett and Duncan, will be enshrined during the weekend's closing event on May 15 at 5 p.m. It is being reported that ESPN will televise the event.
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