MICHAEL JORDAN will present Kobe Bryant for induction into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame next month.
Hall officials revealed the full list of presenters Thursday. Members of a Hall class are asked to choose who they would like to accompany them to the stage and present them before their acceptance speech—when the inductee is being enshrined posthumously, as in Bryant’s case, family members are asked to make the decision on presenter.
Jordan tearfully spoke for more than 11 minutes at the memorial for Bryant and his daughter Gianna in Los Angeles in February 2020.
“When Kobe Bryant died, a piece of me died,” Jordan said at that memorial, about four weeks after Bryant, Gianna and seven others died in a helicopter crash. “And as I look in this arena and across the globe, a piece of you died, or else you wouldn’t be here. Those are the memories that we have to live with, and we learn from. I promise you, from this day forward, I will live with the memories of knowing that I had a little brother that I tried to help in every way I could.”
The enshrinement ceremony is May 15 in Uncasville, Connecticut.
Jordan will also present Baylor women’s basketball Coach Kim Mulkey, another member of the 2020 class. Tim Duncan will be presented by his longtime San Antonio Spurs teammate David Robinson, and Kevin Garnett will be presented by Isiah Thomas.
Duncan, Garnett and Bryant combined for 48 All-Star selections during their careers.
Four-time Olympic gold medalist and 10-time WNBA All-Star Tamika Catchings will be presented by Alonzo Mourning and Dawn Staley; former Bentley women’s coach and winner of more than 1,000 games Barbara Stevens will be presented by Geno Auriemma and Muffet McGraw; the late three-time Final Four Coach Eddie Sutton will be presented by John Calipari, Bill Self and Sidney Moncrief; two-time NBA champion Coach Rudy Tomjanovich will be presented by Calvin Murphy and Hakeem Olajuwon; and the late longtime Fiba Executive Patrick Baumann will be presented by Russ Granik and Vlade Divac.
The enshrinement ceremony was originally scheduled for August 2020 and was postponed by the pandemic.
LaMarcus Aldridge, meanwhile, retired from the NBA after saying he experienced an irregular heartbeat during his final game with the Brooklyn Nets.
Aldridge, 35, posted a statement on social media saying the heart concerns he had during and after Brooklyn’s loss to the Los Angeles Lakers on Saturday were one of the “scariest things” he’s experienced.
Aldridge, who was diagnosed with Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome—an abnormality that can cause a rapid heartbeat—as a rookie in 2007, said he feels better now after getting it checked out but nevertheless decided to end his 15-year career.
“For 15 years I’ve put basketball first, and now, it is time to put my health and my family first,” Aldridge wrote.
The seven-time All-Star signed with the Nets on March 28 and he had become their starting center. He missed the last two games with what the team had called a non-Covid-19 illness.
Nets General Manager Sean Marks said the team fully supported Aldridge’s decision.
“We know this was not an easy decision for him, but after careful consideration and consultation with numerous medical experts, he made the best decision for him, his family and for his life after basketball,” Marks said.
Aldridge joined the Nets after reaching a buyout agreement with the San Antonio Spurs and provided his new team with an inside post presence that was one of the few things it was missing. The 6-foot-11 Aldridge had the best of his five games with the Nets in the one before his heart trouble, scoring 22 points in a victory over New Orleans on April 7.
The No. 2 pick in the 2006 draft was long one of the best at his position, averaging 19.4 points in a career that began with nine seasons in Portland. AP