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Coronavirus: 2020 Basketball Hall of Fame induction ceremony headlined by Kobe Bryant could move to later date

While the NBA is making progress toward a resumption of the 2019-20 season, there are still many restrictions in place across the country that won’t allow large gatherings. Even if and when games do resume, there is no indication fans will be in attendance, and that may be the case for the foreseeable future as the country, and the world, is trying to establish a new normal due to the coronavirus pandemic. 

One such event that will be done far different than before is the 2020 Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame induction ceremony. Originally scheduled to take place on Aug. 29 in Springfield, Massachusetts, the event could be moved back to a later date once larger gatherings are allowed, per the Boston Globe’s Gary Washburn. The Hall of Fame is targeting Columbus Day weekend (Oct. 9-11) as a possible date, or even next spring if necessary.

The ceremony is still scheduled to take place the weekend of Aug. 28-30, but will be moved to a smaller venue to allow for more social distancing among attendees. The CEO of the Hall of Fame, John Doleva, also asserted that the 2020 ceremony won’t be combined with the 2021 class because of the current circumstances.

“I do want to make it very clear we will have a separate event for the class of 2020 because of the notoriety of that class and, frankly, every class deserves its own recognition,” Doleva said via the Boston Globe. “There is a potential next calendar year that we could have two enshrinements.”

The 2020 Hall of Fame class has already been considered the best in history, and is headlined by Kobe Bryant, Tim Duncan, Kevin Garnett and Tamika Catchings. The event was going to be an emotional affair given that Bryant died in a tragic helicopter crash in January, and the Hall wants to ensure that Bryant and the rest of the class get the recognition they deserve. 

Doleva said that no decisions will be made until it’s clear that holding the event in August isn’t feasible, which would be determined by the state of Massachusetts’ four-phase reopening plan. Currently, Massachusetts is in Phase 1 of its four-phase plan, and large-scale events like the Hall of Fame ceremony wouldn’t be allowed until Phase 4.

Also joining the class of 2020 with Bryant, Duncan, Garnett and Catchings are former Houston Rockets coach Rudy Tomjanovich, former collegiate coach Eddie Sutton, Baylor women’s basketball coach Kim Mulkey, former women’s college basketball coach Barbara Stevens and former FIBA and IOC executive Patrick Baumann.  

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