One of the most disconsolately heart-rending sports news from last year was the sudden passing away of Kobe Bryant, the American professional basketball player, the shooting guard, who spent his entire 20-year career with the Los Angeles Lakers in the National Basketball Association (NBA).

Michael Jordan will present Bryant for enshrinement in the HOF on Saturday in Connecticut.

On Friday, Natalia Bryant, the eldest daughter of the late Lakers legend, wore the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame jacket in his honor in the company of other class of 2020 Hall of Fame (HOF) members and representatives for the induction.

The shooting guard, who was only 41 years old at his death, is part of a star-studded class that includes Tim Duncan, Kevin Garnett, Eddie Sutton (coach), Rudy Tomjanovich (coach), Tamika Catchings, Kim Mulkey (coach), Barbara Stevens (coach) and Patrick Baumann (contributor) to be inducted to the HOF.

Their enshrinement ceremony is billed to take place at the Mohegan Sun in Uncasville, Connecticut, on Saturday after the coronavirus pandemic delayed the induction for a whole year.

A remarkably impressive basketballer, Bryant’s on-court accomplishments include five NBA championships, two NBA Finals MVP awards, 2007-08 NBA MVP honors, 15 All-NBA team nods and 18 All-Star Game appearances.

Regarded by experts, pundits and contemporaries as one of the best to have graced the courts, the incoming HOF inductee was involved in a helicopter crash on the Sunday, January 26 last year, that took his life and that of his basketball-playing daughter.

Investigators reported that after taking off in Orange County, the Sikorsky S-76B helicopter flew northwest at about 184 mph (296 kph) and descended at a rate of more than 4,000 feet (1,219 meters) per minute and then crashed shortly before 10am near Las Virgenes Road, south of the 101 Freeway, in Calabasas when it slammed into the hillside and ignited, scattering debris over an area the size of a football field.

The crash was most likely caused by the pilot’s decision to fly into clouds in violation of federal rules, blinding him to his surroundings and causing him to lose control of the helicopter as he became disoriented leading to the immediate death of all onboard.

Apart from Bryant and his daughter Gianni Maria-Onore Bryant, others that died in the crash included Payton Chester, 13; Sarah Chester, 45; Alyssa Altobelli, 14; Keri Altobelli, 46; John Altobelli, 56; Christina Mauser, 38; and Ara Zobayan, 50.

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