Basketball’s Hall of Fame induction next month is headlined by the greatest player, Michael Jordan, posthumously presenting one who most closely resembled him, Kobe Bryant.
The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame on Thursday announced the schedule of presenters for the 2020 class.
The pandemic-delayed ceremony is set for May 15 in Uncasville, Conn.
Jordan, who spoke at Bryant’s memorial service, had a much closer relationship with the Lakers great than most assumed.
“At first, it was an aggravation,” Jordan said, fighting tears at the service following Bryant’s death in a helicopter crash. “Then it became a passion.
“As I got to know him, I wanted to be the best big brother I could be.”
Bryant, indeed, called Jordan his “big brother” during “The Last Dance,” the ESPN documentary about Jordan’s career.
“I truly hate having discussions about who would win one-on-one,” Bryant said. “What you get from me is from him. I don’t get five championships without him. He guided me so much and gave me so much great advice.”
The helicopter crash claimed Bryant, 41, Bryant’s 13-year-old daughter, Gianna, and seven other passengers.
During the February 2020 memorial at Staples Center in Los Angeles, Jordan helped Bryant’s widow, Vanessa, from the stage.
“Kobe never left anything on the court,” Jordan said at the time. “I think that’s what he would want for us to do. No one knows how much time we have. That’s why we must live in the moment, enjoy the moment. We must spend as much time as we can with our family and friends. When Kobe Bryant died, a piece of me died.”
The inductees or their families are given the choice among prior Hall of Famers to be a presenter, which is typically a nonspeaking duty.