Report: Hall of Fame considering delayed induction ceremony for Kobe Bryant, Tim Duncan

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One of the most anticipated Naismith Hall of Fame classes in basketball history could have to wait for induction, depending on the area’s progress in containing the coronavirus pandemic.

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The induction ceremony of Kobe Bryant, Tim Duncan, Kevin Garnett and Tamika Catchings, as well as a number of coaches and executives, is facing a possible delay to Oct. 9-11 and the spring of 2021, Hall of Fame CEO John Doleva told the Boston Globe.

The ceremony is currently scheduled to take place over Aug. 28-30.

Doleva reportedly said the decision will be made in the coming week, and the ceremony will be moved to the larger MassMutual Center (capacity, 8,319) in Springfield, Massachusetts, from Symphony Hall (capacity 2,611) to allow for greater social distancing.

One thing Doleva did rule out is possibly combining the classes of 2020 and 2021. The latter could be on track to feature the likes of Paul Pierce, Chris Bosh and Chris Webber.

Los Angeles Lakers shooting guard Kobe Bryant and San Antonio Spurs center Tim Duncan during the first half of an NBA basketball game in Los Angeles, Thursday, Feb. 3, 2011. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
The Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame's class of 2020 will be one of the best in its history. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

If the decision is made to delay, the Hall of Fame ceremony would be only the latest sporting event to meet such a fate during the pandemic. The importance of the audience in the ceremony means some kind of virtual event is probably not happening.

However, a delay would be all the more unfortunate due to the emotions already surrounding the class due to Bryant’s death in January.

Hall of Fame rule change could allow Vanessa Bryant to speak about Kobe

While previous Hall of Fame ceremonies have not allowed family members of posthumous inductees to speak live at the ceremony — they would tape video presentations instead — Doleva reportedly said that rule will change with the Class of 2020.

Obviously, that would allow Bryant’s widow, Vanessa, or another family member to speak on his behalf at the ceremony, which figures to be a powerful moment as the legacy of the Los Angeles Lakers great is cemented in Springfield.

Bryant’s family has reportedly indicated they want to be involved in the ceremony.

From the Globe:

“I had the opportunity to speak very briefly with Mrs. Bryant, and she was very appreciative and very emotional,” Doleva said. “She has certainly indicated to be very involved, she and her family and others, in his enshrinement ceremony when it happens.”

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