The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame Class of 2020 induction ceremony officially has a new date. In 2021.
The Hall of Fame announced Friday that its 2020 class headlined by Kobe Bryant, Tim Duncan and Kevin Garnett will receive induction on the weekend of May 13-15, 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic. The ceremony had initially been scheduled for Aug. 28-30.
Hall of Fame chairman Jerry Colangelo had previously said the ceremony would be delayed to next spring, and the Hall has now confirmed.
In its announcement, the Hall noted it had hoped to find a viable date in Oct. 2020 if the pandemic subsided, but that clearly hasn’t happened. It also said that the impact will have “significant financial ramifications” in the form of layoffs and salary cuts in the range 25-40 percent for senior management:
“These are people who have been a big part of the Hall’s success in recent years; it hurts deeply,” said John Doleva, President and CEO of the Hall of Fame. “The decision to reschedule Enshrinement into May of next year, along with diminished museum guest visitation and a very uncertain future regarding our multiple collegiate and high school basketball events this fall, has forced us to make these very difficult decisions. Our goal now is to conserve resources so that we may stabilize in 2021 and return to our growth trajectory in 2022 and beyond.”
The delay in the 2020 class is particularly unfortunate because of the high anticipation surrounding the event.
2020 Hall of Fame class is one of the best ever
As Yahoo Sports’ Ben Rohrbach noted when the class was announced, 2020 was going to be arguably the greatest class ever.
Bryant and Duncan are clear inner-circle Hall of Famers among NBA players, and Garnett could easily be thrown in there as well depending on your definition of inner-circle. The trio combined for 48 All-Star selections, 29 All-Defense selections, 11 NBA titles and 4 MVPs.
That group is bolstered by WNBA legend Tamika Catchings — a 10-time All-Star, five-time Defensive Player of the Year and four-time gold medalist — and a group of coaches and executives in Eddie Sutton, Rudy Tomjanovich, Kim Mulkey, Barbara Stevens and Patrick Baumann.
Add in the posthumous nature of the event for Bryant, as well as Sutton, and the ceremony was clearly going to be an emotional one. Now, it has been delayed nine months, and could still be threatened depending how long the pandemic persists.
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