By Joseph Phillips
The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame announced their Eight Finalists for the Class of 2020 Election on Friday, February, 14, via press release.
The Hall of Fame committee made their announcement at NBA All-Star Weekend, naming four extraordinary players and four exceptional coaches, as finalists from the North American and Women’s committees to be considered for election in 2020.
This year’s list will include four first-time finalists: 18-time NBA All-Star and five-time NBA champion Kobe Bryant, 15-time NBA All-Star and three-time NBA Finals MVP Tim Duncan, 15-time NBA All-Star and nine-time NBA All-Defensive First Team selection Kevin Garnett, and 10-time WNBA All-Star and four-time Olympic gold medalist Tamika Catchings.
Previous finalists included again this year for consideration are three-time NCAA National Championship Coach of Baylor Kim Mulkey, five-time Division II National Coach of the Year Barbara Stevens, four-time National Coach of the Year Eddie Sutton and two-time NBA
Champion coach Rudy Tomjanovich.
“When the nominees for the Class of 2020 were announced in December, we knew this class had the potential of being one of the most historic of all time,” said Jerry Colangelo, Chairman of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. “The untimely passing of Kobe Bryant has left us in a state of reflective mourning and we’re proud to honor his legacy while also recognizing seven other individuals who have meant so much to our game. We congratulate our finalists and those who have supported them on their journeys, and we look forward to revealing the Class of 2020 at the Final Four in Atlanta.”
The committee also said given the magnitude and the unique circumstance surrounding the potential Class of 2020, the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame Election Process Committee has suspended the Direct Election Categories for one year with the exception of the International Committee.
The suspension will affect the Men’s and Women’s Veterans Committees, the Early African American Pioneer Committee, and the Contributor Committee. It is expected these categories will return for consideration for 2021. The goal of this suspension is to provide each enshrinee with the recognition and notoriety he or she deserves upon
The complete list of five finalists from the North American Screening Committee includes: players Kobe Bryant, Tim Duncan, and Kevin Garnett, plus coaches Eddie Sutton and Rudy Tomjanovich. The three finalists from the Women’s Screening Committee include: player Tamika Catchings; and coaches Kim Mulkey and Barbara Stevens.
According to the Hall of Fame Class of 2020 committee, the announcement will take place on Saturday April 4th at 11:00 AM EST on ESPN from the NCAA Final Four in Atlanta, Georgia.
The group said the finalist needs 18 of 24 votes from the Honors Committee for election into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. And due to his most recent passing and excellent playing career, NBA great and Los Angeles Lakers legend Kobe Bryant will be favored to be inducted.
Brayant, who will be recognized posthumously, was an 18-time NBA All-Star (1998, 2000-16) and 11-time All-NBA First Team selection (2002, 2003, 2004, 2006-13). As an All-Star, he earned the Game’s MVP trophy four times (2002, 2007, 2009, 2011). He was also a five-time NBA Champion with the Los Angeles Lakers (2000, 2001, 2002, 2009, 2010), the 2008 NBA MVP and Finals MVP twice (2009, 2010).
He famously scored the second-most points in a single game in NBA history (81), led the NBA in total points for four seasons (2003, 2006, 2007, 2008) and ranks fourth on the NBA’s career points list (33,643). Often celebrated for his offensive prowess, Bryant was also a nine-time NBA All-Defensive First Team member (2000, 2003, 2004, 2006-11). With USA Basketball, Bryant earned an Olympic gold medal in 2008 and 2012.
The Class of 2020 will be enshrined during festivities in Springfield, Massachusetts, the Birthplace of Basketball, August 28-30, 2020. VIP Tickets Packages for the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame Class of 2020 Enshrinement events are on sale at www.hoophall.com