By Satuk Bugra Kutlugun
ANKARA (AA) – The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame announced on Friday eight finalists for the class of 2020 election on the NBA All-Star Weekend in Chicago as Kobe Bryant, Kevin Garnett and Tim Duncan highlight the star-studded list.
"This year's list includes 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," the organization said in its statement.
Kobe Bryant, recognized posthumously due to his sudden death on Jan. 26, was an 18-time NBA All-Star (1998, 2000-2016), and 11-time All-NBA First Team selection (2002, 2003, 2004, 2006-2013).
"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 statement said.
Tim Duncan, a 15-time NBA All-Star (1998, 2000-11, 2013, 2015), was an eight- time member of the NBA All-Defensive First Team (1999-2003, 2005, 2007, 2008).
"He is also a five-time NBA Champion with the San Antonio Spurs (1999, 2003, 2005, 2007, 2014), having earned Finals MVP three times (1999, 2003, 2005). In 2002 and 2003, he was named NBA MVP and in 1998 he won Rookie of the Year. Duncan is the only player in NBA history with 1,000 or more wins with one team, which he amassed in his 19 years with the Spurs. He is ranked in the top 10 for NBA all-time rebounds and blocks leaders. As a college athlete at Wake Forest, Duncan earned ACC Player of the Year and was a unanimous First Team All-American in 1996 and 1997. In 1997, he also collected the Wooden, Naismith, Rupp, and Oscar Robertson Awards, while being named AP College Player of the Year," the statement said.
Kevin Garnett is a 15-time NBA All-Star (1997-1998, 2000-11, 2013) and 2008 NBA Champion with the Boston Celtics.
"He is widely regarded for his passion and intensity on the court. A nine-time NBA All-Defensive First Team selection (2000-05, 2008-09, 2011), he led the league in rebounds for four consecutive seasons (2004-2007) and was named Defensive Player of the Year in 2008. While playing for the Minnesota Timberwolves in 2004, Garnett led the league in total points, field goals made and total rebounds while earning NBA MVP. He is ranked ninth in NBA’s all-time leaders for rebounds. With USA Basketball, Garnett earned an Olympic gold medal in 2000. Garnett played 21 NBA seasons and is currently ranked fourth in all-time minutes played (50,418)," the statement said.
Here is the full list of finalists:
The upcoming Basketball Hall of Fame schedule is as follows:
April 4, 2020: Full class announced
Aug. 28-30, 2020: Hall of Fame enshrinement weekend