One of the most decorated Hall of Fame classes in NBA history will have to wait until next year for its special moment in Springfield, Massachusetts.
We’re definitely canceling,” Colangelo said to ESPN. “It’s going to have to be the first quarter of next year. We’ll meet in a couple of weeks and look at the options of how and when and where.”
The enshrinement headlined by Kevin Garnett, Tim Duncan and the late Kobe Bryant was originally scheduled for August 28-30th; and discussions were had about moving the event to early October. Eddie Sutton, Rudy Tomjanovich, Tamika Catchings, Kim Mulkey, Barbara Stevens and executive Patrick Baumann round out the nine-person class.
Garnett, Duncan and Bryant combined for 48 All-Star appearances, 39 All-NBA distinctions, a staggering 11 championships and four MVP titles; so let’s take a closer look at the numbers.
He made a solid impact as a rookie, starting 43 games while averaging 10 points and six rebounds per game. He worked his way to a starter role in his second year and flourished; scoring 17 points and hauling in eight boards per contest en route to his first All-Star game at the age of just 20.
It was the first of 14 consecutive All-Star appearances (excepting the lockout-shortened 1998-99 season); but those distinctions were just the tip of the accolade iceberg.
By the end of his career in 2016 Garnett played his way to 12 All-NBA defensive teams, four league rebounding titles, one Defensive Player of the Year award, the 2003-04 MVP and 2007-08 NBA Championship; and was known for his incredible tenacity and an absolute lack of fear.
Duncan is an outlier on this list; as the only player to make a pit stop in the college ranks. He played four years in the ACC for Wake Forest before the San Antonio Spurs chose him with the first overall pick in the 1997 draft.
He started all 82 games in his rookie year and won the Rookie of the Year award with 21 points and almost 12 rebounds per game. A constant display of consistency and durability, Duncan averaged a double-double and made the All-Star team in each of his first 13 seasons (again excepting the All-Star team in 1998).
While he wasn’t quite the rebounder Garnett was, “The Big Fundamental,” still excelled on both ends of the court over the course of his 19-year career. He made the All-Defensive team on 15 occasions and won two regular season MVP awards.
But as good as he was in the regular season, Duncan was arguably more dominant in the playoffs.
As part of Gregg Popvich’s San Antonio dynasty, he averaged 20 points, 11 rebounds and 2.5 blocks in the postseason; racking up 3 Finals MVP awards en route to five championships.
Despite the rare air in which both Garnett and Duncan’s careers belong in; Bryant is the crown jewel of this star-studded class.
Bryant went on to become one of the most legendary players for one of the most legendary franchises in league history. Known for his competitiveness and relentless scoring; he led the league points on two different occasions. He was also a lockdown defender, earning All-Defensive team recognition 12 times.
He’s also the only player in NBA history to have two different numbers retired by the same team.
Despite his five NBA titles; perhaps nothing illustrates his drive to win more than his All-Star game performances. In a contest generally with little defense and more emphasis on entertainment than winning; Bryant still played his hardest, winning four All-Star MVP awards.
He along with his daughter Gianna and seven others tragically passed away in a helicopter over Calabasas, California on January 26.