The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame announced Thursday Michael Jordan will present the late Kobe Bryant at Bryant’s induction into the Hall of Fame this May. Bryant, his daughter Gianna and seven others died in a in California last year.
Bryant is headlining a star-studded 2020 class that includes basketball greats Tim Duncan, Kevin Garnett and Tamika Catchings. All of themin their first year of eligibility.
The Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame said the presenter is decided by the incoming inductee, or by family members if the inductee is recognized after their death. The ceremony will be held on May 15.
Jordan, an NBA legend and the owner of the Charlotte Hornets, was close friends with Bryant. He delivered a stirring speech at Bryant’s memorial service, saying he was a “like a little brother” to him. Bryant notably spent much of his career trying emulate Jordan’s game to improve his own.
“He wanted to be the best basketball player that he could be. As I got to know him, I wanted to be the best big brother that I could be,” Jordan said.
“When Kobe Bryant died, a piece of me died,” he added. “As I look in this arena and across the globe, a piece of you died.”
Bryant, who went straight from high school to the pros, is widely considered to be one of the best NBA players of all time, and is beloved by fans all over the world. He won five Finals and was an 18-time NBA All-Star.