NBA icon Michael Jordan (23), who spoke at Los Angeles Lakers great Kobe Bryant's (8) memorial service last year, also will introduce Baylor women's basketball coach Kim Mulkey. File Photo by Roger L. Wollenberg/UPI | License Photo
April 15 (UPI) -- The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame on Thursday revealed its list of Hall of Famers who are scheduled to present the Class of 2020, with NBA icon Michael Jordan honoring Los Angeles Lakers great Kobe Bryant.
Jordan, who spoke at Bryant's memorial service in February 2020, also will introduce Baylor women's basketball coach Kim Mulkey, making him the only Hall of Famer who will present multiple honorees during this year's induction ceremony.
The strong connection between Jordan and Bryant came to light when the former Chicago Bulls superstar gave his heartfelt speech at the memorial service after Bryant's death in a helicopter crash in January 2020.
"Maybe it surprised people that Kobe and I were very close friends, but we were very close friends," Jordan said. "Kobe was my dear friend; he was like a little brother. ... As I got to know him, I wanted to be the best big brother I could be."
Bryant is one of many big names in the 2020 class, which is being honored May 15 because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Fellow first-ballot inductees Tim Duncan and Kevin Garnett will be presented by David Robinson and Isiah Thomas, respectively, while two-time NBA champion and former Houston Rockets coach Rudy Tomjanovich will be introduced by franchise legends Hakeem Olajuwon and Calvin Murphy.
Former NBA player Sidney Moncrief, Kansas head coach Bill Self and Kentucky head coach John Calipari will present Eddie Sutton, who made three Final Fours and was the national college coach of the year four times. Sutton died last May.
Five-time Division II national coach of the year Barbara Stevens will be introduced by Connecticut women's coach Geno Auriemma and former Notre Dame women's coach Muffet McGraw, while WNBA great Tamika Catchings will be presented by Alonzo Mourning and South Carolina women's coach Dawn Staley.
Longtime FIBA executive Patrick Baumann, who died in 2018, will be honored by former NBA deputy commissioner Ross Granik and Vlade Divac.