The Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame induction for an exceptionally illustrious class, including the late Kobe Bryant, will be postponed from August to next spring because of the coronavirus pandemic, Jerry Colangelo, the chairman of the Hall of Fame’s board of governors, said Wednesday.
No announcement will be official until the board of governors convenes on June 10, Colangelo said.
“But that’s what I expect will be the outcome,” he said in a telephone interview.
Bryant, who died at 41 in a helicopter crash on Jan. 26, was voted into the Hall in April, as were his N.B.A. contemporaries Tim Duncan and Kevin Garnett and the 10-time W.N.B.A. All-Star Tamika Catchings.
The enshrinement weekend was originally scheduled for Aug. 28-30, and Colangelo had proposed Oct. 10-12 as an alternative in case fears over the pandemic lingered. But Colangelo said it had become clear to him that neither weekend would be feasible.
“We had October as our backup date, and that’s not that far away,” Colangelo said. “There are too many other things that could cause that to be a problem. So we’re better off deferring until the first quarter of next year.”
A $23 million renovation of the Hall of Hame in Springfield, Mass., is still scheduled to be completed by July 1, and Colangelo was hoping that the enshrinement weekend would double as a sort of grand reopening for the building. But those plans have been scuttled.
“We were going to bust out with this incredible class,” Colangelo said. “But we you have to adjust. That’s life.”
Colangelo said there would still be separate ceremonies — on separate weekends — for the Class of 2020 and the Class of 2021.
“Whenever we do it, predicated on world circumstances, we’re not going to shortchange anyone,” Colangelo said. “We want this to be very special for these inductees.”