Those eager to watch the induction of one of the most talented enshrinement classes in the history of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame will have to exude a little more patience.
Jerry Colangelo, the Hall of Fame's chairman for the board of governors, told ESPN on Wednesday that the class of 2020, headlined by Tim Duncan, Kevin Garnett and the late Kobe Bryant, will not be enshrined until early 2021 because of the novel coronavirus pandemic.
Enshrinement weekend was originally set for Aug. 28-30 and there was a proposed alternate weekend of Oct. 10-12, both of which Colangelo said are "just not feasible."
"We're definitely canceling," Colangelo said. "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."
Bryant, Duncan and Garnett are among a nine-person class featuring WNBA legend Tamika Catchings and coaches Kim Mulkey, Barbara Stevens, Eddie Sutton and Rudy Tomjanovich. Patrick Baumann, the former secretary general of FIBA, was inducted as a contributor.
The ceremony will feature three posthumous inductees. Bryant, an 18-time NBA all-star, died in a helicopter crash in January at the age of 41. Sutton, who went 806-328 in 37 seasons as a Division I head coach, died Saturday at age 84. Baumann died of a heart attack in October at 51.
Colangelo said that the Hall of Fame, located in Springfield, Massachusetts, will host separate ceremonies for the classes of 2020 and 2021, even though both enshrinements will take place in the same calendar year.
"We won't be combining them," Colangelo said. "The Class of 2020 is a very special class and deserves its own celebration."
Enshrinement weekend consists of a Friday gala and awards ceremony at Mohegan Sun in Uncasville, Connecticut, where that year's class will receive its Hall of Fame rings and jackets, Saturday's enshrinement ceremony and a Sunday "celebration day."
Colangelo told ESPN that Hall of Fame officials had considered moving the enshrinement ceremony from Springfield's 2,611-seat Symphony Hall to Springfield's 8,319-seat MassMutual Center to practice physical distancing before deciding to push the date back.
The Hall of Fame underwent a $23 million renovation in February and was slated to reopen on March 25, but its website says it will remain closed until July 1 because of the coronavirus pandemic.