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The Late Kobe Bryant Inducted Into the Philadelphia Black Basketball Hall of Fame


Joe and Kobe Bryant

Almost three years after tragically dying in a helicopter accident, Kobe Bryant was inducted into the Philadelphia Black Basketball Hall of Fame last weekend.


Bryant, along with his father, Joe Bryant, were inducted with 18 other honorees at The Emerald Room in Philadelphia on Saturday.



“One of the greatest lessons I learned from a Hall of Famer, Claude Gross: You’ve got to wait your turn,” Mo Howard, a 2019 Hall of Fame inductee, said to the Philadelphia Inquirer.


Bryant, unfortunately, was enshrined after his untimely death in January of 2020 when he perished with nine other victims, including his daughter, Gianna Bryant, in a helicopter that was reportedly headed to a basketball game.


Howard said Philadelphia hasn’t honored the Philadelphia native and the Lower Merion graduate enough.


“I don’t think Philadelphia basketball has honored Kobe. I don’t think they honored him in life or in tragedy. I thought it was a great opportunity to say, ‘Yea, Kobe, you are one of us, and we miss you, and you’re one of our very best.’”


There is a reason he is one of the best. On the NBA level as a Los Angeles Laker, Bryant is a five-time NBA champion, a two-time NBA Finals MVP, an MVP, an 18-time NBA All-Star, a four-time NBA All-Star MVP, an 11-time All-NBA First Team selection, a nine-time All-Defensive First Team, a two-time NBA scoring champion, an NBA Slam Dunk Contest champion and of course, one of the top 75 players of all time, among many other awards as a pro.


On the high school level, he was the Gatorade National Player of the Year, a McDonald’s All-American and a First-team Parade All-American.


His father, Joe, was a great basketball player as well. Drafted by the Philadelphia 76ers in 1975, Joe went on to play for the San Diego Clippers, Houston Rockets and a plethora of overseas teams. He was even a college coach, including at La Salle as an assistant, and he was the head coach for the LA Sparks, too.


“He doesn’t have to stand with Kobe,” Howard, the father of former La Salle coach Ashley Howard, said of Kobe’s father. "He stands alone.”



With the Philadelphia Jewish Sports Hall of Fame, the National Italian American Sports Hall of Fame, the Irish-American Hall of Fame, the German-American Hall of Fame and the National Polish-American Sports Hall of Fame in existence, Howard said there was a need for the Philadelphia Black Basketball Hall of Fame to embark on its journey, beginning in 2017.


“I want to be clear, while today Black players predominate in basketball, there was a time when we didn’t," Howard, a St. Joseph’s prep and Maryland star who went to the NBA said. “The genesis of this, we wanted to tell the stories of the men who were denied the opportunities that I got. The Tee Parhams, the Coach Chaneys.”


Other inductees were legendary Temple coach John Chaney, who went to HBCU Bethune-Cookman, Jerome Allen, Walter Byrd, Sean Colson, Dallas Comegys, Emmanuel “Vel” Davis, Kenny Hamilton, Shawn Harvey, Linda Hester, Wali Jones, Ollie Johnson, Yolanda Laney, Debbie Lytle, Pooh Richardson, Malik Rose, Marilyn Stephens, Larry Stewart and Hubie White.

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