The coronavirus pandemic could delay the induction of Kobe Bryant, Tim Duncan, Kevin Garnett, Tamika Catchings, and a number of coaches and executives into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame this year.
It’s arguably the most significant induction since Michael Jordan, John Stockton, David Robinson, and C. Vivian Stringer were admitted as the class of 2009, but it may not go ahead as planned. CEO John Doleva told the Boston Globe that the Hall will decide this week whether the ceremony will still take place over the last weekend in August.
The hall is located in Massachusetts, close to New York City, one of the global epicenters of the coronavirus. The celebration could be delayed to a later date, such as the Columbus Day weekend, Oct. 9-11, or in the spring of 2021 in the hope that infection rates will have declined by then.
As a further precaution, the ceremony will be moved from Symphony Hall (which has a capacity of 2,611) to the MassMutual Center (capacity, 8,319). This would allow patrons more room for social distancing.
Doleva has ruled out the possibility of combining the classes of 2020 and 2021.