The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame announced Saturday that nine honorees will be inducted as the class of 2020. The list will be headlined by Los Angeles Lakers icon Kobe Bryant, San Antonio Spurs legend Tim Duncan, and Kevin Garnett, who most notably played for the Minnesota Timberwolves and Boston Celtics.
Garnett entered the league as the fifth overall pick in 1995, Bryant followed as the No. 13 selection in 1996, and Duncan arrived as the top pick in 1997. With 48 All-Star selections, four MVP trophies, and 11 NBA championships between them, all three were considered Hall of Fame locks long before their playing careers concluded after the 2015-16 season.
Unfortunately, basketball fans will be deprived of seeing the three stand together at the 2020 induction ceremony, as Bryant, his daughter Gianna, and seven others died in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, California, on Jan. 26.
In addition to the headlining NBA players, Houston Rockets icon Rudy Tomjanovich has been elected as a coach.
A five-time All-Star as a Rockets player during the 1970s, Tomjanovich found even more success on the sidelines, shepherding the team to back-to-back NBA championships in 1994 and 1995. Including a 43-game stint with the Lakers in 2004-05, Tomjanovich amassed a 527-416 (.559) record in parts of 13 seasons.
From the men's college ranks, former Oklahoma State head coach Eddie Sutton received word that he will be enshrined in his seventh year as a finalist.
In addition to his tenure with the Cowboys, which produced 13 trips to the NCAA Tournament from 1990-2006, Sutton had successful stops with Creighton, Arkansas, and Kentucky, as well as a 19-game stint as San Francisco's interim coach to cap his career in 2007-08. His 806 wins as a Division I head coach rank 11th all time.
Rounding out the class are three inductees with ties to women's basketball: Indiana Fever icon and four-time Olympic gold medalist Tamika Catchings, Baylor coach Kim Mulkey, and current Bentley coach Barbara Stevens. Longtime FIBA executive Patrick Baumann will also be inducted.
Catchings was an NCAA champion in 1998 with Tennessee. She parlayed an excellent collegiate career into a stellar 15-year stint in the WNBA, all with the Fever. She was a 10-time All-Star, peaking in her early 30s as the league MVP in 2011 and the WNBA Finals MVP in 2012 when she captured her lone league title.
After a playing career that included an NCAA championship with Louisiana Tech in 1982 and a gold medal with Team USA at the 1984 Olympics, Mulkey cemented herself as one of the brightest minds in coaching. Since taking over the women's program at Baylor in 2000-01, Mulkey has posted 604-100 (.858) record with NCAA titles in 2005, 2012, and 2019.
After stints with Clark University and Massachusetts, Stevens has coached at Division II Bentley since 1986-87, amassing 1,039 wins with a .787 winning percentage. The program has been a perennial Division II powerhouse under her watch, capturing the D-II title in 2014.
The honorees are scheduled to be inducted Aug. 29.