A long held expectation became a reality when it was officially announced Los Angeles Lakers legend Kobe Bryant was set to be inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.
Bryant, along with former San Antonio Spurs forward Tim Duncan, Minnesota Timberwolves legend Kevin Garnett, former Houston Rockets head coach Rudy Tomjanovich, 10-time WNBA All-Star and four-time Olympic gold medalist Tamika Catchings, among others in the 2020 Hall of Fame class, were due to be enshrined Aug. 29.
However, like with other sporting events and mass gatherings, the viability of moving ahead with the ceremony was thrown into some uncertainty due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
And after mulling over their options, the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame has decided to push back the ceremony to 2021, according to ESPN’s Jackie MacMullan
Jerry Colangelo, the chairman of the board of the governors for the Hall, told ESPN on Wednesday that enshrinement ceremonies for the Class of 2020, one of the most star-studded lineups ever that includes Tim Duncan, Kevin Garnett and Kobe Bryant, will be moved to spring of 2021.
“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.”
The unfortunate reality also is delaying the public’s first look at a $23 million renovation of the facility in Springfield, Mass. The Hall of Fame closed in February to complete the project and had intentions of re-opening in late March. The pandemic has required its doors to remain closed.
Whenever enshrinement does come about, the 2020 Hall of Fame class will be regarded as one of the best in NBA history. Though, it also will be remembered for inducting Bryant posthumously, after he, his daughter Gianna, and seven other passengers tragically passed away in a helicopter crash.
Shaquille O’Neal was among those greatly affected by Bryant’s sudden death, and after months of mourning before he could manage his emotions, the former Lakers center said watching the Hall of Fame ceremony would open too many wounds.