Kobe Bryant, Patrick Ewing, LeBron James, Karl Malone and Bill Russell were among the finalists who were announced Tuesday as 2019 NBA finalists in voting by the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.

It’s a bittersweet time for Bryant, one of the most popular and accomplished players of all time. He announced last month that he will retire after the upcoming season, which could be his 19th in the NBA.

The Hall class will be announced in April. The winners will be inducted in September.

Bryant is the first high school to be a Hall of Famer.

As Lakers guard Lonzo Ball said recently, he grew up idolizing Bryant. “I think I love Kobe more than any athlete in the world right now,” Ball said.

Ball has grown up to become one of the Lakers’ top defenders.

Other finalists include George Gervin, Scottie Pippen, David Robinson, Gil Palmer, Jerry West, Pervis Ellison, David Robinson, Manute Bol, Pearl Washington, Nate Thurmond, Bill Russell, Maurice Cheeks, Teresa Edwards, Isiah Thomas, coach Lenny Wilkens, Pat Riley, and Marques Johnson.


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