Allen Iverson Welcomes Kobe Bryant, Tim Duncan, Kevin Garnett To Basketball Hall Of Fame

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Kobe Bryant and Allen Iverson faced each other in the 2001 NBA Finals. Getty Images/Jesse D. Garrabrant

Allen Iverson can’t wait for his friends to join his club.

“The Answer” could not contain his excitement as Kobe Bryant, Tim Duncan, and Kevin Garnett were announced as inductees to the Class of 2020 of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.

“(Hall of Fame) 2020!!! Don’t get no better than this. ‘The Black Mamba’, ‘The Big Fundamental’ & ‘The Big Ticket’. Welcome to the club!!!” wrote Iverson on Sunday.

The three ex-NBA superstars are officially part of the class of eight bound for the enshrinement ceremonies in Springfield, Massachusetts on Aug. 29, the organizers announced Saturday. Along them are 10-time WNBA All-Star Tamika Catchings, Baylor coach Kim Mulkey, Bentley University coach and five-time Division II coach of the year Barbara Stevens, four-time NCAA coach of the year Eddie Sutton, former Houston Rockets coach, and two-time NBA champion Rudy Tomjanovich, and former FIBA Secretary General Patrick Baumann.

The powerhouse cast boasts several winning credentials combined that it could go down as arguably the greatest Hall of Fame class in history.

The induction will be a celebration of basketball greatness and legacy, but it will be a different level of emotion for Iverson as Bryant, his dear friend and co-draftee in the 1996 NBA draft, will not be physically in attendance at the ceremonies to deliver his acceptance speech. The Los Angeles Lakers legend died in a helicopter crash in January.

"People will always remember how we competed against each other in the league, but it goes so much deeper than that for me,” Iverson wrote in a letter for Bryant days after the latter’s passing. “The story of us being drafted in arguably the deepest class of its kind ever in the NBA can be debated for many years to come. However, his generosity and respect for the game is something that I witnessed first-hand every time we stepped on the dance floor to compete.”

The former Philadelphia 76ers superstar was inducted to the Hall in 2016, along with Shaquille O’Neal, Yao Ming, and seven others. He was a former NBA MVP, an 11-time All-Star, a seven-time All-NBA team member, and a four-time scoring champion. He led the Sixers to Finals in 2001 – the same year he captured the MVP. In 17 seasons as a pro, he recorded more than 24,000 points and 5,000 assists.

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