Kobe, Duncan, Garnett lead the Basketball Hall of Fame class

Kobe Bryant He was already immortal. He is now officially a member of the Hall of Fame as well.

And he has a lot of elite company in the 2020 class.

Bryant and partner NBA big Tim Duncan & Kevin Garnett He led a group of nine people announced Saturday as this year's consecrated class in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.

They all got into the Hall in their first year of eligibility, as did W NBA great Tamika Catchings. Two-time NBA champion coach Rudy Tomjanovich finally got his call, as did longtime Baylor women's coach Kim mulkey , Winner of 1,000 games Barbara Stevens of Bentley & three-time Final Four coach Eddie Sutton.

Brief notices

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theyweretheeightfinalistswhowereannouncedinfebruary,ythepanelof24voterswhoweretaskedtodecidewhomeritedselectionwoundupchoosingthemall.alsoheadedtothehallthisyear:formerfibasecretarygeneralpatrickbaumann,selectedasadirect-electbytheinternationalcommittee.

"hewastheheadoffibaythiswasawaytohonorhim,"colangelosaid."itwasaspecialthingdonethroughthatcommittee."

bryantdiedinahelicoptercrashonjanuary26,aboutthreeweeksbeforethehalloffamesaid-asiftherewasgoingtobeanydoubt-thathewasafinalist.duncanygarnettwerealsowidelyperceivedtobelockstobepartofthisclass; they were both 15-time NBA All-Stars, & Bryant was an 18-time selection.

Bryant was also a five-time champion with the Los Angeles Lakers, as was Duncan with the San Antonio Spurs.

"This is an incredibly special class, for many reasons," Hall of Fame Chairman & enshrinee Jerry Colangelo said.

Catchings was a 10-time W NBA All-Star & four-time Olympic gold medalist. Tomjanovich, who had overwhelming support from NBA peers who couldn't understand why it took so long for his selection, was a five-time All-Star as a player, guided Houston to back-to-back titles & took the 2000 U.S. Olympic team to a gold medal.

Mulkey has three NCAA titles as a coach, won two others as a player & had Baylor in position to vie for another championship this season had the global coronavirus pandemic not forced the shutdown of virtually every sport around the globe. Stevens has coached for 43 years & is a five-time Division II coach of the year. Sutton won more than 800 games in nearly four decades, & Baumann was one of the most powerful voices in international basketball until his death in 2018.

The consecration ceremony in Springfield, Massachusetts, is scheduled for August 29. In case the pandemic is delayed, there is also a tentative plan for an October ceremony.

For this year, largely because of the star power of this class, the Hall chose to enact a one-year suspension of direct elections from the Veteran's, Women's Veteran's, Early African-American Pioneers & Contributors categories.

With Bryant, Duncan & Garnett as perhaps the top NBA trio to ever enter simultaneously, the Hall wanted to make sure that no enshrinee would be overlooked.

We don't need to dilute it, Colangelo said. Next year is another year for many.

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