Thursday, January 21, 2010
Hall of Fame to move up ceremony
By Jackie MacMullan ESPN.com
The Basketball Hall of Fame announced Thursday afternoon that it will move this year's enshrinement date from mid-September to Aug. 13 in anticipation of the 1992 Dream Team being among the inductees of the Class of 2010.
Michael Jordan, center, and Magic Johnson are expected to be enshrined this summer as part of the Dream Team.
The official list of finalists will be announced Feb. 12, but the men's team that won Olympic gold in Barcelona for the United States and featured superstars Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson, Larry Bird and Charles Barkley undoubtedly will be included in that select group.
Two other Dream Team stars, Scottie Pippen and Karl Malone, also will be eligible for induction this year for the first time.
The shift to August was made, in part, to eliminate a conflict with the world championships, which will be held in Istanbul from Aug. 28 to Sept. 12. In fact, USA Basketball hopes to fly in the current U.S. team to Springfield to be present for the Dream Team's induction.
"After weighing many options, we believe the second weekend of August is a better fit for everyone involved in the enshrinement ceremonies," USA Basketball chairman Jerry Colangelo said in a statement.
The enshrinement ceremony will again take place at Springfield's Symphony Hall, where it was moved to last year for the first time to accommodate the large crowd for Jordan's induction.
Assembling the Dream Team alumni normally would be a tall order. However, Jordan likely will want to be in attendance to support his former Bulls teammate Pippen, and former Jazz point guard and Dream Team alumnus John Stockton will want to be on hand to celebrate his former teammate Malone.
Lon Rosen, Johnson's agent, confirmed Wednesday night that Johnson will be in Springfield on Aug. 13 to celebrate the accomplishments of one of the greatest teams ever assembled. The Dream Team cruised to the gold medal under the late Chuck Daly without ever calling a timeout during the entire 1992 Olympic Games.
The Hall plans a number of events and new exhibits around the enshrinement ceremonies, including a potential tribute to the Dream Team if it is inducted.
"These new plans allow the Basketball Hall of Fame to make our premier event more accessible to fans as we establish a weeklong celebration designed to reach all of the Hall's constituencies," John Doleva, president and CEO of the Hall, said.
Jackie MacMullan is an ESPN NBA analyst and columnist for ESPN.com. Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.