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Basketball HOF making changes to ensure safe induction ceremony

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Kobe Bryant of the Los Angeles Lakers will be posthumously honored with a place in the Naismith Memorial Hall of Fame as part of the Class of 2020. Also part of the class is Tim Duncan (21) of the San Antonio Spurs. -- REUTERS/ANDESS LATIF/FILE PHOTO

ENSHRINEMENT ceremonies at the Naismith Memorial Hall of Fame are set for Aug. 29, but they could be rescheduled amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The Boston Globe reported that officials there are considering alternate dates in October or next spring and also are implementing protocols to make the ceremony safe when it does happen.

John Doleva, CEO of the Hall of Fame, told the newspaper that the ceremony will move from Symphony Hall in Springfield, Massachisetts, to the nearby MassMutual Center. With a capacity of about 8,300 — or three times that of Symphony Hall — the MassMutual Center can offer attendees space for social distancing.

The Class of 2020 is made up of players Kobe Bryant, Tim Duncan, Kevin Garnett and Tamika Catchings, coaches Eddie Sutton, Rudy Tomjanovich, Kim Mulkey and Barbara Stevens, and contributor Patrick Baumann.

Bryant, Sutton and Baumann will be honored posthumously.

Doleva said the 2020 group will be enshrined on its own and not in a combined ceremony, as the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum has chosen to do. Derek Jeter, Marvin Miller, Ted Simmons and Larry Walker will be inducted on July 25, 2021, in Cooperstown, New York, alongside any new members elected as part of the Hall of Fame Class of 2021, instead of this July.

“I do want to make it very clear we will have a separate event for the class of 2020 because of the notoriety of that class and, frankly, every class deserves its own recognition,” Doleva said of the basketball inductees. “There is a potential next calendar year that we could have two enshrinements.”

No decision will be made on rescheduling the August ceremony until Hall of Fame officials see whether the event even could be held under Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker’s six-step reopening plan, Doleva said. — Reuters





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