Kobe, Duncan, Garnett headline HOF finalists
5:44 PM ETTim BontempsESPN CHICAGO — The star-studded Class of 2020 for the Naismith Memorial Basketball Corridor of Fame took one step nearer to induction as Tim Duncan, Kevin Garnett and the late Kobe Bryant have been all formally named as finalists on Friday.They have been joined by 10-time WNBA All-Star Tamika Catchings of the Indiana Fever, coach Kim Mulkey of three-time girls’s NCAA champion Baylor, five-time Division II coach of the yr Barbara Stevens of Bentley College, four-time NCAA coach of the yr Eddie Sutton and former Houston Rockets coach Rudy Tomjanovich, who received two NBA titles.From the second Garnett, Duncan and Bryant have been all eligible to be inducted this yr, there was little doubt all three — every among the many best ever to play the game — could be enshrined on Aug. 29 in Springfield, Massachusetts.Being a lock as a finalist did not make the second any much less particular for Garnett, who was available for the announcement in the identical metropolis the place he spent his senior yr of highschool enjoying at Farragut Academy earlier than being drafted fifth general by the Minnesota Timberwolves in 1995.”He’d most likely suppose that is fairly superior proper right here,” Garnett stated with a smile when requested what the 18-year-old model of himself would’ve stated again in 1995 about Friday’s announcement. “The Corridor of Fame is one thing you do not actually take into consideration. It simply occurs.”1 RelatedThe basketball world nonetheless is reeling from sudden and tragic losses.Bryant, his 13-year-old daughter Gianna and 7 others have been killed Jan. 26 when the helicopter they have been aboard crashed in Calabasas, California, as they have been flying to a basketball match the place Gianna was to play together with her workforce.As well as, David Stern, the NBA commissioner throughout probably the most profitable interval in league historical past, died Jan. 1 on account of a mind hemorrhage. He was 77.The mixture of Bryant’s passing and the enormity of the three names atop the poll precipitated the Corridor’s nominating committee, led by chairman Jerry Colangelo, to alter its guidelines this yr by limiting the category to eight nominees to be voted upon and eliminating the direct-elect alternatives on a one-year trial foundation.One step nearer to Springfield. #MambaForever pic.twitter.com/ojR8iHpcwD— Los Angeles Lakers (@Lakers) February 14, 2020 The objective, Colangelo stated, was to keep away from the lesser-known honorees being misplaced amid the curiosity within the star names headlining this yr’s occasion.”[That’s] due to the enormity — even earlier than Kobe’s demise — that we predict Kobe and Duncan and Garnett deliver to it,” Colangelo stated. “We have by no means had a category that robust on the high. And naturally with Kobe’s demise, it added extra focus.”We thought the way in which of coping with it was eliminating some direct-elects on a one-year foundation. Now we have that flexibility, thankfully, to do it as a result of some individuals may get misplaced within the shuffle, actually, when it comes to getting their due.”Colangelo additionally addressed the hypothesis that, within the wake of Bryant’s demise, he could be enshrined within the Corridor with no vote.”No, no, no,” Colangelo stated. “I don’t know the place these issues began. Now we have a course of and also you observe the method. Once we met in Dallas after his demise, we needed to cope with that, and the way in which we handled it was we weren’t going to submit plenty of names. We have been going to make it a small class.”We would like everybody to get their due. It is necessary. It is delicate. Now we have a job to do between now and the top of August, that it’s that type of a program and manufacturing. As unhappy because it all is, we’ve to cope with all of that, and life goes on on the planet of basketball and the Corridor of Fame and we do not need to take away from the individuals right here who’re the potential inductees.”ESPN’s Michael Wilbon and Mike Breen have been elected into the Corridor of Fame as recipients of the Curt Gowdy Media Award. The Corridor additionally added a pair of media awards this season — the Curt Gowdy Perception Media Award and the Curt Gowdy Transformative Media Award — and people went to Jim Grey and TNT’s “Inside The NBA” program, respectively.play0:53Michael Wilbon receives a cellphone name saying he received the Curt Gowdy Media Award for Print Journalism.”It is exhausting to course of,” Breen stated with a smile. “I simply love the sport, and to have the ability to name the video games … to me, that was the lottery. That was hitting the jackpot for the remainder of my life.”To suppose that you simply have been doing one thing that you simply love a lot, after which they are going to provide you with this unbelievable award? I do know it is a cliché, but it surely’s overwhelming.”The Corridor’s Class of 2020 will probably be introduced throughout the NCAA Closing 4 in Atlanta on April 4. The Corridor’s Honors Committee — made up of Corridor of Famers, basketball executives, media members and others — will vote on the finalists, who should obtain 18 of 24 votes to be enshrined.