Vanessa Bryant got choked up as she talked about how "incredibly proud" she is of her late husband Kobe Bryant's induction into the Basketball Hall of Fame and said she wishes he was here to celebrate.
"It's an incredible accomplishment and honor and we are extremely proud of him," Bryant told ESPN in an interview on Saturday. She was joined by the couple's 17-year-old daughter, Natalia.
"Obviously, we wish that he was here with us to celebrate, but it's definitely the peak of his NBA career and every accomplishment that he had as an athlete was a stepping stone to be here," Bryant said of her husband. "We are incredibly proud of him and there's some solace in knowing that he was probably going to be a part of the 2020 Hall of Fame class."
The late basketball star, who played for the Los Angeles Lakers, was the all-time leading scorer for his team during his 20-year NBA career. He died in a helicopter crash on Jan. 26 with his 13-year-old daughter Gianna and seven others.
“He was one of the greatest competitors who stepped on the court and made sure his impact was felt on both sides of the ball," the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Massachusetts, said in a statement.
“He is ranked fourth on the NBA’s career points list (33,643). We congratulate posthumously five-time NBA Champion Kobe Bryant.”
Lakers Vice President and General Manager Rob Pelinka said he knows this is an honor "Kobe would, and will, deeply appreciate."
"The highest of congratulations to you, dear friend. This one is so well deserved — for all the hard work, sweat and toil," he added. "Now, a part of you will live in the Hall with the rest of the all-time greats, where your legend and spirit will continue to grow forever."