The basketball careers of Kevin Garnett and Kobe Bryant are joined at the hip.
They were the first two players drafted into the NBA out of high school in 20 years (Garnett in 1995 and Bryant in 1996), they played on the same All-Star team nine times, and faced off in two NBA Finals.
And now they will reportedly enter the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame together.
Garnett and Bryant, along with Spurs legend Tim Duncan, will be inducted into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame as part of the 2020 induction class, The Athletic’s Shams Charania reported on Friday.
Garnett averaged 17.8 points and 10 rebounds per game over his 21-year career. He was named an All-Star 15 times (including winning the All-Star Game MVP in 2003) and was selected to the All-NBA team nine times. He won the Defensive Player of the Year in his first season with the Celtics in the 2007-08 season and was named the NBA MVP for the 2003-04 season. And of course, he won the 2008 title with the Celtics, defeating Bryant’s Lakers.
It was also announced in February that Garnett’s No. 5 will be retired by the Celtics sometime during the 2020-21 season.
Bryant averaged 25 points and 4.7 assists per game over his 20-year career, all of which he played with the Lakers. He was named an All-Star 18 times (the second-most in NBA history) and shares the record for most NBA All-Star Game MVPs with Bob Pettit with four. Bryant was named the league’s MVP for the 2007-08 season and won five titles, one of which came over Garnett’s Celtics in 2010, where Bryant won one of his two Finals MVP awards.
Bryant will be inducted posthumously after dying in a helicopter crash that killed him, his daughter Gianna, and seven others in January.
The other finalists include WNBA legend Tamika Catchings, Baylor women’s basketball coach Kim Mulkey and Bentley University women’s basketball coach Barbara Stevens.
“To be included on such a list and be considered for the Basketball Hall of Fame is an incredible honor,” Stevens, who has won over 1,000 games in her career, told the Associated Press.
The 2020 induction class will officially be announced on Saturday, April 4 at noon on ESPN.
The induction ceremony is scheduled for Aug. 29 in Springfield, Mass. There is a backup plan to hold the ceremony in October if the coronavirus pandemic prevents the ceremony from being held in August.