Bryant Among The Eight Finalists To The Hall Of Fame

CHICAGO (AP) – The list of finalists at the Basketball Hall of Fame is considerably shorter than usual. The voters really didn’t need this year anymore. Kobe Bryant, Tim Duncan and Kevin Garnett – with 48 Star Game selections among them_ They lead the group of eight finalists that was announced Friday by the Hall of Fame. Each one needs 18 votes from a panel of 24 people before they officially become members of the Hall of Fame, which is really only a formality. In recent years the list of finalists had included 13 people, but the high level of the stars forced the Hall to change their thinking this year, a decision they made before Bryant died unexpectedly in a helicopter crash in southern California on January 26. “We did it for his power, even before Kobe’s death, we believe that Kobe, Duncan and Garnett bring, ”said Jerry Colangelo, president of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. “We have never had such a strong class. And besides, of course, Kobe’s death increases the importance. ”Bryant, Duncan, Garnett and Tamika Catchings, 10 times elected to the WNBA All-Star Game and four times Olympic gold medalist, are finalists for the first time. The other finalists had already been included: Baylor coach Kim Mulkey, Houston Rockets coach Rudy Tomjanovich, the five-time coach of the Division II school year Barbara Stevens and the college coach Eddie Sutton. This year’s class It will be announced on April 4 during the Final Four of college basketball in Atlanta. The exaltation ceremony will be in Springfield, Massachusetts on August 29. “Being a member of the Hall of Fame is something you never really think about, you never dream about it,” Garnett said. “It’s something that happens — It’s one of the most overwhelming situations I’ve encountered.” Bryant was elected 18 times to the All-Star Game, won five NBA titles in his 20-year career with the Los Lakers Angels, he won the Olympic gold twice and is the fourth highest scorer in history. He died with his daughter Gianna, 13, and seven others when he was heading to a basketball tournament last month.