Lakers’ Rob Pelinka, Jeanie Buss React to Kobe Bryant’s HOF Induction


Getty LOS ANGELES, CA - DECEMBER 18: Kobe Bryant poses with his family and Earvin Johnson, Rob Pelinka and Jeanie Buss at halftime after both his #8 and #24 Los Angeles Lakers jerseys are retired at Staples Center on December 18, 2017 in Los Angeles, California.

Only a few months have passed since the untimely death of Kobe Bryant. While Los Angeles has done a lot to mourn the Laker great, his death will always feel surreal. Kobe’s legend has already been immortalized in a number of ways and the news that he’s being inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame is just the cherry on top of one of the greatest careers in the history of professional sports.

Kobe was a Laker through and through. Not many athletes spend 20 years with one team and bring them five championships. There is perhaps no athlete that means more to one team than Kobe did to the Lakers. The team took his death very hard but is the time to celebrate his legacy. Lakers owner Jeanie Buss issued a statement after the news broke of Kobe’s induction.

“No amount of words can fully describe what Kobe Bryant meant to the Los Angeles Lakers,” Buss said, per “Kobe was not only a proven winner and a champion, he gave everything he had to the game of basketball. His fierce competitiveness, work ethic and drive were unmatched. Those qualities helped Kobe lead us to five titles – and have now brought him to the Hall of Fame, where he will be enshrined with the greatest to have ever played the game. No one deserves it more.”

The 2020 class will feature two of Kobe’s fiercest rivals in Kevin Garnett and Tim Duncan.

Rob Pelinka Chimes In

Lakers Vice President of Basketball Operations and General Manager Rob Pelinka was perhaps Kobe’s closest friend at the time of his death. He was clearly greatly affected by the news as he was also the godfather of the late Gianna Bryant. Pelinka gave some insight into how Kobe may have felt about the Hall of Fame honor if he were still alive.

“Kobe was always one to downplay his professional accomplishments – MVPs, NBA championships, gold medals, Oscars, and on and on and on,” Pelinka said. “But all of us can trust that this Basketball Hall of Fame honor is one 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. 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.”

A Hall of Fame induction is among the highest honor an athlete can obtain. There’s no doubt that Kobe deserves the honor.

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A Legendary Career

While Kobe Bryant is no longer with us, that doesn’t undo all of the epic moments he brought to the basketball world. Whether it was winning five championships, an MVP or sinking a free throw after suffering a torn Achilles, Kobe is one of the most iconic athletes to walk the face of the earth.

It’s not a surprise that he’s getting inducted into the Hall of Fame, but it just further adds to his legend. It will always be heartbreaking that he won’t be there to accept the honor. However, he is already immortalized and his legend will live on for years to come.

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