Kobe Bryant’s Hall of Fame induction could be delayed by coronavirus

A decision is coming this week on whether one of the most impressive Naismith Hall of Fame classes will have to wait to be enshrined, according to a report.

This year’s induction, headlined by Kobe Bryant, Kevin Garnett, Tim Duncan and Tamika Catchings, was originally scheduled for Aug. 28-30 in Springfield, Mass., but could be forced to move to this fall or the spring of 2021 because of the coronavirus pandemic, the Boston Globe reported.

The Hall of Fame is already planning on holding the event at a bigger venue to allow for social distancing — the MassMutual Center instead of Symphony Hall — but will decide this week whether to move forward with the original date or push it back to Oct. 9-11 or early next year, CEO John Doleva told the Globe. Even if it is delayed until 2021, though, it will not be combined with next year’s class.

“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 told the newspaper. “There is a potential next calendar year that we could have two enshrinements.”

Kobe Bryant Hall of Fame Tim Duncan Kevin Garnett coronavirus
Kobe Bryant after the Lakers won the 2009 NBA Finals.AFP via Getty Images

Whenever the event does take place, it will tweak its rules to allow family members to speak live at the event on behalf of inductees, according to the Globe. Previously a posthumous inductee would be honored with a video presentation, but the change could allow Vanessa Bryant to speak for her late husband if she chooses. Bryant and his daughter Gianna were among nine killed in a helicopter crash in California on Jan. 26.

“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.”

The 2020 Hall of Fame class also includes Rudy Tomjanovich and Eddie Sutton, who died Saturday at 84.

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