SPRINGFIELD, Ma. (WWLP) — Sports fans from all over the world and in Springfield, Massachusetts at the Basketball Hall of Fame are mourning the death of Kobe Bryant.
Kobe Bryant was going to be in Springfield this summer for his expected enshrinement into The Hall of Fame with the class of 2020.
President and CEO John Doleva of the Hall of Fame set up a memorial for people to pay their respects.
“We got such a shock overnight, but yes we’ve got a memorial here. I came in this morning and there were flowers outside, so we brought them in and put a nice picture of Kobe and Shaq and Coach Jackson here winning a championship and really giving people just a space to come and just pay some respects to Kobe,” Doleva said. “We’ll have our theater open so people can come and watch our film, of which Kobe is a part of and just reflect on what the meant to the basketball community.”
Doleva said dealing with a player about to be enshrined in the Hall of Fame dying so young is surreal.
“We are beginning the process just this week, we start the process, we announce our finalists at the All-Star game. We announce our class the Final Four. We were expecting such a great Enshrinement this year, now we have a bit of a pall over our Enshrinement 2020,” Doleva said. “Everyone expects Kobe to be a unanimous choice. 24 voters, the same as his number, which is ironic. I’m sure he’ll go 24 for 24 and be a part of our Enshrinement, but it’s going to be different this year.”