Kobe Bryant is a lock to be elected into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame when eligible in 2021, and he wants to be enshrined into basketball immortality in style.
The retired Los Angeles Lakers superstar is already thinking about who he'd like to present him with the honor, and one of his options is surprising, to say the least.
"In terms of who might present, for me it’s two people: Michael Jordan or Phil Jackson," Bryant told Liz Levy of Complex Sports. "They’ve been the greatest mentors, not only in my career as an athlete, but also as a person. And what I might say is just a lot of thank yous. ‘Cause I’ve had a lotta help along the way. A lotta lotta help.”
Bryant, who won 5 championships and and was named an All-Star 18 times throughout his prolific career, is widely considered the second-greatest shooting guard in NBA history behind Jordan. He spent his entire 20-year career with the Lakers, setting the NBA record for most seasons spent with one franchise.
Jordan would be an entertaining choice as a potential presenter, given the arrogant and cocky tone of his own Hall of Fame speech.
Jackson, on the other hand, would be the logical choice to welcome Bryant into the elite club. The legendary coach helped take Bryant's game to the next level upon his arrival in Los Angeles back in 1999, and the pair enjoyed five NBA titles together. During Jackson's 11-year tenure with the Lakers, his relationship with Bryant was rocky at times, even deeming the elite scorer "uncoachable" at one point. Despite their differences, the duo had one thing in common: Winning.
Bryant will have to wait another four years for a potential induction ceremony, but he'll be honored by the Lakers on Dec. 18, when the franchise retires both his No. 8 and No. 24 at Staples Center prior to a clash with the Golden State Warriors.