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The eight finalists for the 2020 Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame class have been announced, headlined by late Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant.
Bryant was among several high-profile first-time nominees for the 2020 class, along with Tim Duncan and Kevin Garnett. The 2020 class will be revealed on April 4 at the men’s Final Four in Atlanta.
Here is the full list of finalists:
- Kobe Bryant
- Tamika Catchings
- Tim Duncan
- Kevin Garnett
- Kim Mulkey
- Eddie Sutton
- Barbara Stevens
- Rudy Tomjanovich
Following Bryant’s death in a helicopter crash on Jan. 26, Hall of Fame chairman Jerry Colangelo told NBA TV (h/t Sports Illustrated‘s Dan Gartland) even before the official voting took place that the Lakers legend would be posthumously inducted during this year’s ceremony.
“Ironically, I have a meeting in Dallas on Wednesday with the committee to go through the candidates,” Colangelo said. “Obviously, the result of whatever names come out of that, he was going to be a first-ballot guy. There’s no doubt in my mind. He’s going to be honored. He’s going in the Hall of Fame.”
Bryant spent his entire 20-year playing career with the Lakers from 1997-2016. His 18 All-Star selections rank second all-time, only behind Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (19). He was named to the All-Defensive team 12 times, ranks fourth all-time in NBA history with 33,643 points, won five NBA titles and two NBA Finals MVP awards.
Like Bryant, Duncan spent his entire career with one franchise. The Big Fundamental played with the San Antonio Spurs from 1997-2016, winning five NBA titles and three NBA Finals MVPs. He was also a two-time NBA MVP, 15-time All-Star and All-Defensive team selection.
Garnett played 21 seasons for three different teams. His first stint with the Minnesota Timberwolves from 1995-2007 turned around a franchise that didn’t have a winning record in seven seasons before his arrival.
The Big Ticket led the T-Wolves to eight straight postseason appearances from 1996-2004, including their first two playoff series wins during his MVP season in 2003-04. He’s tied with Bryant, Gary Payton and Michael Jordan for most All-Defensive First Team selections (nine).
Garnett won his only NBA title with the Boston Celtics during the 2007-08 season when he was also named Defensive Player of the Year.
Sutton is a finalist for the seventh time after previously being inducted into the College Basketball Hall of Fame in 2011. The legendary college coach led four different programs to the NCAA tournament, including Final Four appearances with Arkansas (1978) and Oklahoma State (1995, 2004).
Over the course of his 37 seasons as a head coach, Sutton went 806-329 and is tied with Bob Huggins for eighth all-time in Division I victories in men’s college basketball.
This article will be updated to provide more information on this story as it becomes available.
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