Basketball Hall of Fame postponing induction; Rudy T. will have to wait one more year

James Hawkins
The Detroit News

Rudy Tomjanovich waited years before he finally received his long-awaited Hall of Fame call.

And now the former Michigan standout and Hamtramck native is going to have to wait a little bit longer until he’s officially enshrined.

According to multiple reports, the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame induction for the 2020 class will be moved from August to next spring because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Michigan great Rudy Tomjanovich had a successful playing career at the college and pro level before winning two NBA titles as head coach of the Houston Rockets.

Hall of Fame chairman Jerry Colangelo told The New York Times the announcement won’t be official until a June 10 board meeting, but the postponement appears certain.

"We're definitely canceling," Colangelo told ESPN. "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.”

Tomjanovich was voted into the Hall in April, becoming the first former Michigan basketball player to receive the honor. He averaged 25.1 points and 14.4 rebounds during his legendary career in Ann Arbor before racking up over 13,000 points and 6,000 rebounds and earning five All-Star nods in 11 seasons with the Houston Rockets.

Following his playing days with Rockets, he became the franchise’s winningest head coach with over 500 victories and led the organization to two NBA titles. He also guided the U.S. Olympic team to a gold medal at the Sydney Games in 2000.

More: For former Michigan star Rudy Tomjanovich, Hall call a 'godsend'

Tomjanovich, 71, is part of a star-studded class that’s headlined by three former NBA greats — the late Kobe Bryant, Tim Duncan and Kevin Garnett. Other members include WNBA star Tamika Catchings, Baylor women’s basketball coach Kim Mulkey, Bentley women’s basketball coach Barbara Stevens and former college coach Eddie Sutton, who died this past weekend.

The enshrinement weekend was set to take place in Springfield, Massachusetts, on Aug. 28-30, with a proposed backup date of Oct. 10-12. But Colangelo said both weekends weren’t feasible.

Colangelo said there will be separate ceremonies on separate weekends for the classes of 2020 and 2021 next year.

"We won't be combining them," he told ESPN. "The Class of 2020 is a very special class and deserves its own celebration."

The Basketball Hall of Fame isn’t alone in having to alter its schedule due to the pandemic. The Baseball Hall of Fame had to cancel its induction ceremony, which was previously scheduled for July 24-26 in Cooperstown. The 2020 class, which includes Michigan natives Derek Jeter and Ted Simmons, will be inducted with the 2021 class next year.

Twitter: @jamesbhawkins