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Basketball Hall Of Fame Pushes Enshrinement To 2021 Because...

Nick Cammett

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The Basketball Hall of Fame's upcoming enshrinement weekend has been scratched from this year's calendar because of the coronavirus, according to ESPN.

It will instead be held in the spring of 2021.

The delay is particularly notable because the incoming Class of 2020, considered one of the best ever, will be headlined by the late Kobe Bryant.

"We're definitely canceling," Jerry Colangelo, chairman of the Naismith Memorial Hall of Fame's board of governors, told ESPN on Wednesday. "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 original dates for the enshrinement weekend were in late August, with alternate dates in October. However, Colangelo told ESPN that the dates are "just not feasible" because of the pandemic, which has killed more than 100,000 people in the United States alone.

The Hall of Fame did not immediately respond to NPR's query on the event's status.

Other notable members of the class include Kevin Garnett, Tim Duncan, WNBA legend Tamika Catchings and coaches Rudy Tomjanovich and Kim Mulkey.

Three members of the 2020 class will be inducted posthumously.

Bryant died four months ago when his helicopter crashed in Calabasas, Calif. Eight others died in the crash, including his daughter Gianna. He was 41. Bryant played 20 seasons, all with the Los Angeles Lakers, where he won five NBA Championships.

His public funeral held at Staples Centers drew thousands and was broadcast live on television.

Also set to be honored is Eddie Sutton, the longtime college coach who amassed more than 800 victories. He died earlier this month at 84.

Another 2020 honoree is Patrick Baumann, the long-serving secretary general for the International Basketball Federation, who died in October 2018 at 51.

Colangelo said that even though the 2020 and 2021 classes will be enshrined in the same year, there will be separate events for each.

"We won't be combining them," he said to ESPN. "The Class of 2020 is a very special class and deserves its own celebration."

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