Kobe Bryant’s Hall of Fame enshrinement postponed to 2021 due to coronavirus pandemic

The Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame enshrinement ceremony for Kobe Bryant, Tim Duncan and Kevin Garnett and six others is postponed until 2021.

Hall of Fame Board of Governors chairman Jerry Colangelo broke the news Wednesday to ESPN. The ceremony was due to be held Aug. 29 in Springfield, Mass., following a presentation the previous day in Uncasville, Conn.

The Boston Globe recently reported that the Hall of Fame was looking to postpone the events until October, but Colangelo told ESPN that holding the ceremony this year won’t be possible due to the ongoing effects of the coronavirus pandemic.

“We’re definitely canceling,” Colangelo said. “It’s going to have to be the first quarter of next year. (The board will) meet in a couple of weeks and look at the options of how and when and where.”

He told ESPN that the Hall of Fame explored the possibility of moving the ceremony from Springfield’s 2,611-seat Symphony Hall to the city’s 8,319-seat MassMutual Center to provide more opportunity for social distancing, but ultimately the decision was made to wait until next year.

Bryant died Jan. 26 at age 41 in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, Calif., that also claimed the life of his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna, and seven others.

Bryant was an 18-time NBA All-Star, five-time NBA champion and three-time NBA Finals MVP in a 20-year career with the Los Angeles Lakers.

Duncan, 44, also played for just one team, the San Antonio Spurs, in a 19-year career. He won five NBA titles, made 15 All-Star teams and was a two-time league MVP.

Garnett, 44, also made 15 All-Star teams and was Defensive Player of the Year in 2007-08. He played 14 seasons for the Minnesota Timberwolves, six for the Boston Celtics and two for the Brooklyn Nets, winning a title with Boston in 2007-08.

The other members of the Hall of Fame’s Class of 2020 are:

–Tamika Catchings, 40, the national player of the year for Tennessee in 2000 and the WNBA MVP for the Indiana Fever in 2011.

–Eddie Sutton, who was the first coach in NCAA history to lead four schools to the NCAA Tournament (Creighton, Arkansas, Kentucky and Oklahoma State). He died Saturday at age 84.

–Rudy Tomjanovich, 71, who coached the Houston Rockets to NBA championships in 1994 and 1995 and guided the USA men’s team to a gold medal in the 2000 Olympics in Sydney.

–Kim Mulkey, 58, who has coached Baylor’s women’s team to three NCAA championships.

–Barbara Stevens, 65, one of five coaches in NCAA women’s basketball history to reach 1,000 career wins.

–Patrick Baumann, who died in 2018 at age 51, a longtime FIBA executive and a member of the International Olympic Committee.

The 2020 class will be inducted separately from the to-be-announced 2021 class, according to Colangelo.

“The class of 2020 is a very special class and deserves its own celebration,” Colangelo told ESPN.

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