Celtics

Here’s what Kevin Garnett, Vanessa Bryant, and more said at the Hall of Fame induction ceremony

Garnett started the show, but he wasn't the only person inducted Saturday night.

Kevin Garnett puts his hand on his heart during a speech Saturday.

The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame welcomed Kobe Bryant, Tim Duncan, Kevin Garnett, Eddie Sutton, Rudy Tomjanovich, Tamika Catchings, Kim Mulkey, Barbara Stevens, and Patrick Baumann as members of the Class of 2020 on Saturday.

Many consider this the greatest class of all-time. Here’s a rundown of the evening as it unfolds, including a look at each new member.

Kevin Garnett

When Ahmad Rashad introduced Garnett, he told the crowd that “anything is possible” on behalf of Garnett, who quickly echoed that belief.

“And it is, Garnett said. “And it is.”

As he started his speech, the former Celtics superstar said he told the Hall of Fame he wanted to go first for one very specific reason.

“We got the OGs in here,” Garnett said just after 5:30 p.m. “I know y’all got a bedtime in a minute. I wanted Bill Russell to hear my speech.”

He then thanked many people, including Michael Jordan for being a big brother, a constant, and providing him with “bald head secrets.”

Garnett – a 15-time All-Star and 2008 champion with the Celtics – said that if people want to blame anyone for his intensity on the court, they should blame his mother, Shirley. She was extremely passionate and cared about her craft, and Garnett said those values rubbed off on him.

He then thanked the Timberwolves and Celtics, shouting out head coach Doc Rivers for allowing him to be both a better player and person and teaching him the value of “Ubuntu.” Garnett said he expects teammate Paul Pierce to be up on the same stage next year, which seems likely based on a report earlier Saturday.

Garnett then shouted out Tim Duncan and the late Kobe Bryant and closed by summing up what fans who have watched him play for years already know.

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“I played the game hard,” Garnett. “I played the game with a passion.”

Barbara Stevens

Garnett is a tough act to follow, but Stevens – another passionate leader with local ties – was more than up for the task.

Barbara Stevens is officially a Hall of Famer. – Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

The former Bentley women’s basketball coach, who played at Bridgewater State and coached at Clark and UMass before finding her long-term home at Bentley, helped transform the Falcons into a Division II powerhouse.

She was named coach of the year five times and is one of only five women’s college coaches to win 1,000-plus games.

She thanked the Hall for recognizing that there are successful coaches at every level and acknowledging her as one of them.

“To be honored tonight for my life’s work is overwhelming,” Stevens said. “The game of basketball has taken me on a great journey.”

Tim Duncan

Duncan, who won five NBA championships, said giving a speech Saturday was more overwhelming than any game he ever played.

“This is the most nervous I’ve ever been in my life,” said Duncan, who added that he paced in his room all day.

He then pointed out that he started as a swimmer in the U.S. Virgin Islands and didn’t pick up a basketball until 14. Duncan praised everyone who played a role along the way, from his family to Wake Forest to the Spurs.

The legendary big man thanked Bryant and Garnett for bringing out his best, and he said he can’t wait to see teammates Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili on the stage and himself off it.

Tim Duncan gives his speech Saturday. – Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

Lastly, he thanked Spurs coach Gregg Popovich for his never-ending support.

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“Thank you for being the amazing human being that you are,” Duncan said.

Kobe Bryant

The late Bryant’s wife, Vanessa, spoke on his behalf Saturday, with Michael Jordan accompanying her on stage. She thanked Jordan first for being there and said that Jordan meant so much to Bryant.

She praised Bryant for his excellence as a player, an entrepreneur, an author, and, most of all, a family man. Vanessa said his most cherished accomplishment was being the very best girl dad.

Vanessa said Gigi, who also died in the helicopter crash, would be so proud of her father.

“There will never be anyone like Kobe,” Vanessa Bryant said. “Kobe was one of a kind.”

Vanessa Bryant presented in honor of her late husband, Kobe. – Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

Eddie Sutton, Tamika Catchings, Patrick Baumann, Rudy Tomjanovich, and Kim Mulkey

Here’s some info on each enshrinee and what they’ve meant to the game of basketball.

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