FILE PHOTO: A mural of late NBA great Kobe Bryant is pictured during the public memorial for him, his daughter Gianna Bryant and seven others killed in a helicopter crash, at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California, U.S., February 24, 2020. REUTERS/Kyle Grillot/File Photo
(Reuters) – The Basketball Hall of Fame’s enshrinement ceremony for the Class of 2020, a group that includes the late Kobe Bryant, has been delayed until 2021 because of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to ESPN.
The enshrinement ceremony for the nine-member group, which also includes Tim Duncan and Kevin Garnett, was scheduled for Aug. 29 in Springfield, Massachusetts.
“We’re definitely canceling,” Jerry Colangelo, chairman of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, was quoted as saying in the ESPN report.
“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 Hall of Fame did not immediately respond when asked by Reuters via email on Thursday to confirm the report.
According to ESPN, Colangelo also said there will be separate ceremonies for the Class of 2020 and the Class of 2021, even though both events will be held in the calendar year 2021.
“We won’t be combining them,” he told ESPN. “The Class of 2020 is a very special class and deserves its own celebration.”
Bryant, one of the most dominant players in NBA history, was killed with his daughter and seven others in a January helicopter crash.
Fourth all-time in NBA scoring, Bryant played for the Los Angeles Lakers during an illustrious 20-year career highlighted by five NBA championships, two NBA Finals MVPs and one league MVP.
Reporting by Frank Pingue in Toronto; Editing by Dan Grebler