In the most emotionally gripping moment of Basketball Hall of Fame induction ceremony on Saturday night, Vanessa Bryant delivered a speech to honor her husband, the late, great Kobe Bryant. Standing in front of a crowd after being escorted to the stage by the Black Mamba’s friend and mentor, Michael Jordan, Vanessa immortalized the Lakers legend in the best way possible.
“Kobe played through injury after injury,” Vanessa said during the speech, via the NBA’s official video. “To name a few, he had IVs administered during halftimes to play through food poisoning and the flu. He played through a broken nose. He had a broken finger and had it snapped back in place just enough to finish the game. … He even swished two free throws with a torn Achilles and walked off the court on his own.”
Kobe’s ability to play through adversity was legendary, but Vanessa revealed another story on Saturday that illuminated just how passionate her husband was about playing basketball. She recalled that she once asked him why he so often refused to sit out games, despite being injured.
“I remember him asking, ‘What about the fans that saved up to watch me play just once?’,” Vanessa said remembering Kobe’s response to her question.
Vanessa Bryant recalled asking Kobe why he often refused to sit game: “I remember him asking, ‘What about the fans that saved up to watch me play just once?'”
— Mark Medina (@MarkG_Medina) May 15, 2021
The story is just another example of how important it was for Kobe to perform his best, night in and night out. With his induction into the Hall of Fame, his relentless work ethic and mindset will live on forever.
“You did it. You’re in the Hall of Fame now,” Vanessa said in closing while holding back tears. “You’re a true champ. You’re not just an MVP – you’re an all-time great. I’m so proud of you. I love you forever and always, Kobe Bean Bryant.”
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