Kevin Garnett

Kobe Bryant to be inducted into Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame class of 2020

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USA TODAY

Kobe Bryant to be inducted into Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame class of 2020

The Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame class of 2020 was already set up to be a special one, with some of the greatest names in the sport, names like Tim Duncan and Kevin Garnett, set to get in. But now that class takes on an even greater significance as Shams Charania of The Athletic and Stadium reported that Kobe Bryant, who tragically died in a helicopter crash in California on Sunday, will be inducted into the  Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame.

Basketball Hall of Fame chairman Jerry Colangelo stated that the 2020 class is expected to be one of the "most epic" classes in the history of the sport.

Along with Bryant, the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame class of 2020 is expected to include some of his fiercest rivals. The list of players that could be inducted in 2020 includes the aforementioned all-time great San Antonio Spurs forward Duncan (played a total of 30 playoff games against Bryant), Pistons legends Ben Wallace and Chauncey Billups (defeated Bryant and the Lakers in 2004 NBA Finals), and Shawn Marion, whose Suns teams were a huge threat to the Lakers dynasty throughout the 2000s.

The full Hall of Fame class will be revealed in April. Colangelo maintained that "Kobe will be honored the way he should be."

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Toni Kukoc gets third shot at Hall of Fame nod in star-studded class

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AP

Toni Kukoc gets third shot at Hall of Fame nod in star-studded class

Another year, another round of voting for the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. And the 2020 class of eligible candidates is absolutely stacked.

The first-time candidates boast some especially historic names, including Kobe Bryant, Tim Duncan, Kevin Garnett and Chris Bosh. Between the 1999-00 and 2014-15 seasons, only one NBA Finals was played without one of those four participating — Bryant appeared in seven Finals, winning five; Duncan was in six, winning five; Garnett in two, winning one; and Bosh in four, winning two. Overall, the four have 13 rings and 59 All-Star appearances between them, and Garnett, Bryant and Duncan have all won MVP awards (Duncan twice).

The sure-firedness of those four will overshadow a host of repeat-nominees beneath them, but there's a compelling collection, nonetheless. Rick Adelman, Rudy Tomjanovich and George Karl rank among the notable eligible coaches.

In Bulls-specific news, Toni Kukoc checks in as an International Committee nominee for the third consecutive year. Kukoc spent nine of his 15 NBA seasons with the Bulls, winning three titles and averaging 14.1 points per game over his tenure.

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Kevin Garnett never forgets the role Chicago played in his life

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USA TODAY

Kevin Garnett never forgets the role Chicago played in his life

Kevin Garnett is a 15-time All-Star, Defensive Player of the Year, MVP, and NBA Champion, so it's safe to say that 'The Big Ticket' knows a thing or two about leadership.

The 43-year old former NBA superstar and actor Adam Sandler were on Thursday's episode of the 'Pardon My Take' Podcast to discuss their starring roles in the upcoming film 'Uncut Gems' as well as their careers up to this point. When asked how he became a great leader after coming into the NBA as a mere high schooler, Garnett was quick to credit his time spent in Chicago (as a student at Farragut Career Academy High School). 

Moving to Chicago helped me understand different types of people. Y'know, every day in the street, I'd like to think that I interacted with a different personality or something so much that when I got into the league, you're in the locker room with arguably 14 other guys [with] different characteristics, different makeups...you're just dealing with a bunch of different cultures in the room, and I just learned how to interact, and how to y'know, tone it down at times, turn it up at times, bring it all together, try to keep it all together, and I found myself having 14 different connections. I learned all that through living in Chicago.

-Kevin Garnett on living in Chicago as a teen

Garnett was born and raised in Greenville, South Carolina and was a standout at Mauldin High School in Mauldin, South Carolina. He was involved in an incident involving a huge fight between students at Mauldin in which many students, Garnett included, were arrested. Any charges against Garnett were eventually expunged as he had no direct involvement in the incident and was simply a bystander. But the incident was enough for Garnett and his family to feel like he may be a target due to his rising fame as a preps hoops star and influenced his move to Chicago for his senior year of high school. 

Though the move helped the young Garnett adjust to dealing with different personalities in his soon-to-come NBA life, it also helped him deal with people from all different walks of life in general, which has paid dividends later on, such as now, when he is acting in his first starring role and dealing with an entirely new set of challenges. 

"Learning how to 'whoa man can we get outta this? and 'How we gonna get outta this?'... that all helped me to come into the league and dealing with older people and professionalism and guys with money."

Garnett handled his NBA career with aplomb and now he is having a very successful post-NBA run, and he never forgets the role Chicago played in making him into the man he is today.

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