By Ty Anderson, 985TheSportsHub.com
The 2020 Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame class will feature some 21st century Celtics-Lakers representation, as both Kobe Bryant and Kevin Garnett will be among the group of icons immortalized in Springfield, Mass. later this year, according to The Athletic’s Shams Charania.
Completing Danny Ainge’s (initial) quest for a new Big Three in Boston upon his trade to Boston in 2007, Garnett instantly became the fiery co-leader of a squad already featuring Paul Pierce and Ray Allen, and led the Celtics to a league-best 66-16 record in his first season in The Hub. Garnett was straight-up dominant that season, too, as the towering big with unmatched intensity shot a career-best 53.9 percent and also nabbed NBA Defensive Player of the Year honors for a Green team that ultimately captured the 2008 championship with a six-game series win over Bryant’s Lakers.
It was just the start of a six-season run in Celtic Green that came with three All-NBA Defensive First Team honors (2008, 2009, and 2011), an All-NBA Defensive Second Team honor in 2012, five All-Star appearances, and a second trip to the NBA Finals in 2010. Had Garnett been healthy in 2009, you’re likely talking about the C’s going to three straight Finals.
Overall, Garnett spent 21 years in the NBA, and exited the game with a resume that included a championship, an MVP (2003-04), 15 All-Star appearances, nine All-NBA honors, and 12 All-Defensive honors. Garnett also ranks 18th on the NBA’s all-time scoring list, ninth in rebounds, and played the seventh-most games in league history.
Bryant, meanwhile, will make his way to the Hall of Fame after an NBA career that included five championships (his last one coming against the Celtics in 2010), two Finals MVP awards (2009 and 2010), MVP honors in 2008, 18 All-Star nominations, 11 NBA First Team honors, and countless (and downright ridiculous) scoring efforts that put him four on the NBA’s all-time scoring list, with nearly 34,000 points throughout his unforgettable career.
Bryant tragically died in a helicopter crash earlier this season at just 41.
Kobe and KG will not be the only players represented, of course, as career-long Spurs superstar Tim Duncan will also be among the group (as noted by Charania) along with former Rockets coach Rudy Tomjanovich.