One of the greatest Hall of Fame classes in basketball history will have to wait.
Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame chairman Jerry Colangelo told ESPN on Wednesday that the Hall’s enshrinement ceremony — featuring the likes of Kobe Bryant, Tim Duncan, Kevin Garnett and Tamika Catchings — will be delayed to the spring of 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The enshrinement ceremony had been previously scheduled to take place over the weekend of Aug. 28-30. The Hall of Fame had reportedly been considering a delay to Oct. 10-12, but Colangelo characterized even that delay as “just not feasible” in the face of a virus that has killed 100,000 people in the United States.
The Hall’s board of governors will reportedly look into spring dates on June 10.
"We're definitely canceling," Colangelo said. "It's going to have to be the first quarter of next year. We'll meet in a couple of weeks and look at the options of how and when and where."
While an unfortunate bit of news, it was likely necessary given the significance of this year’s class.
Kobe looms large over Hall of Fame ceremony
The 2020 Hall of Fame ceremony was already going to be an emotional one after the death of Kobe Bryant in January. Thanks to a change in the Hall’s rules, Bryant’s widow Vanessa will be allowed to speak at the ceremony on her late husband’s behalf rather than with a video address, though it is unclear if she or other family will take that opportunity.
Alongside Bryant in the class of 2020 will be Duncan, Garnett, Catchings, Eddie Sutton, Rudy Tomjanovich, Kim Mulkey, Barbara Stevens and Patrick Baumann. Sutton’s induction will also be posthumous after his death last weekend.
Together, the group forms one of the best classes in the Hall’s history.
The Basketball Hall of Fame isn’t alone in altering its schedule, as the effects of the pandemic are also being felt in Cooperstown.
The Baseball Hall of Fame has delayed its induction ceremony, previously scheduled for July 24-27. Instead, the 2020 class featuring Derek Jeter, Larry Walker Ted Simmons and Marvin Miller will be inducted alongside the 2021 class at next year’s ceremony.
The Pro Football Hall of Fame’s induction ceremony remains officially on track for Aug. 6-9, while the Hockey Hall of Fame’s ceremony is typically held in November.
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