The 2020 class for the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame is one of the greatest of all-time.
Featured in it is Los Angeles Lakers legend Kobe Bryant, along with fellow greats Tim Duncan and Kevin Garnett, and also WNBA legend Tamika Catchings. These NBA, WNBA and basketball legends would normally be recognized in a weekend-long ceremony taking place Aug. 28-30, 2020.
However, amid the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, there is a chance gatherings of that size will not be allowed by the end of August. While many other large gatherings have been canceled outright, the Hall of Fame induction ceremony is not something that can simply be canceled or done virtually.
John Doleva – the Hall of Fame CEO – said that their first step would be to move to a larger venue to promote distancing between attendees. But if that doesn’t work, postponing may be the next best option.
The Hall of Fame induction ceremony could be moved just a month or two back to October, but a potential spring 2021 induction is also under consideration, according to Gary Washburn of The Boston Globe:
Doleva said the Hall will move the ceremony from Symphony Hall (capacity 2,611), which has housed the event since 2009, to the MassMutual Center (capacity, 8,319), allowing patrons more room for social distancing. Doleva added alternate dates would be over the Columbus Day weekend, Oct. 9-11, or in the spring of 2021.
“There could be an arena show in August, but there’s just so many variables we have to look at,” Doleva said. “We want to have all that information by month’s end and decide what our action plan is going to be.”
Doleva added that there will be a ceremony for this class due to the prestige of the group being inducted:
“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. “There is a potential next calendar year that we could have two enshrinements.”
The pandemic is forcing many groups, especially those in charge of large gathering-style events, to get creative. Having two ceremonies in the 2021 calendar year would certainly be unusual, but it would be the best chance to fully recognize the accomplishments of the 2020 class while remaining as safe as possible.
Hosting the event in a larger venue in August may work, but it might take something away from the event while also still holding some level of risk. Pushing the ceremony back to October is also viable, but things may not improve between August and October.
For now, keeping the August date is the best move, as there’s no need to be so proactive with something like this. The good news is that the legendary class of 2020 will be honored in some way.