Vanessa Bryant delivered a touching, emotional speech on Saturday night during Kobe Bryant's induction to the Hall of Fame. The ceremony was expected to be a very moving gala, which is precisely what it turned out to be.
Accompanied by Michael Jordan, Vanessa talked about her husband and all the things he did during his successful NBA career and what he achieved in his personal life. One of the best parts of the speech was Vanessa talking about Kobe's love for the fan and why they were the reason for him to play as much as possible.
Mrs. Bryant said that Kobe thought about those fans who saved some money to watch him so he wouldn't disappoint them (5:20 mark).
"One of the reasons why my husband played through injuries and pain was because he remembered being a little kid, sitting in the nosebleeds with his dad and watching his favorite player play," Vanessa said as she turned to Jordan. "I remember asking him why he couldn’t just sit a game out because he was hurting. He said, 'What about the fans that saved up to watch me play just once?' He never forgot about his fans. If he could help it, he would play every minute of every game. He loved you all so much."
She also talked about how Kobe suffered a torn Achilles, which was different from the injuries he had faced before. However, Kobe knew how to come back.
"I’ll never forget the look he gave me when he walked off the court that game," Vanessa recalled. "I knew it was bad. The crowd was cheering and I was reassuring Natalia and Gianna that daddy would be okay just like any other injury. But as he walked into the tunnel, there was no wink and no kiss blowing my way. I could see the concerned look on his face. That injury was big, but the comeback from that injury was bigger."
The Black Mamba was a very tough guy. He wasn't anybody to back down from a challenge, and even after suffering the most significant injury of his career, he stood up and made two free throws before leaving the court.
All those stories made Kobe the great player he was. His will to give his best, always improve, and never disappoint the fans is why he's so loved, becoming an idol for plenty of fans and young players around the world.
Now Kobe is a Hall of Famer. Even though he wasn't there physically, everybody felt his presence on that stage. His legacy will live on forever in those who watched him play, those who faced him, and especially those who lived every day with him.