With the legendary Michael Jordan – a known mentor and personal friend to the late Kobe Bryant – standing by her side, Vanessa Bryant delivered an exceptionally powerful speech in honor of Kobe at Saturday night’s Hall of Fame induction ceremony.
As expected, it was emotional. But Vanessa’s strength was inspiring, and her stories of the late Kobe brought back cherished memories of the Lakers legend, specifically his determination to play through injuries throughout his career.
“Kobe played through injury after injury,” Vanessa said during the speech, via the NBA’s official video. “To name a few, he had IVs administered during halftimes to play through food poisoning and the flu. He played through a broken nose. He had a broken finger and had it snapped back in place just enough to finish the game. … He even swished two free throws with a torn Achilles and walked off the court on his own.”
To end her speech, Vanessa congratulated the NBA legend for his induction into the Hall of Fame. She went on to tell the Lakers legend how proud she is of him, all while holding back tears.
“You did it. You’re in the Hall of Fame now,” Vanessa continued. “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's message for Kobe at the end of her Hall of Fame speech 💜💛
"I love you forever and always Kobe Bean Bryant." pic.twitter.com/5pSkrNxMkX
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) May 16, 2021
While exiting the stage, those in attendance began chanting “Kobe!” in honor of the former Lakers superstar.
You can watch Vanessa Bryant’s full Hall of Fame speech below, courtesy of the NBA.
It’s still hard to fathom Kobe Bryant is no longer with us. But Saturday night’s ceremony was one of celebration, not of mourning.
Now in the Basketball Hall of Fame, Kobe’s legacy will forever live on.