Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame immune to NBA lockout
By LACY J. BANKS firstname.lastname@example.org July 31, 2011 10:48PM
Updated: November 16, 2011 1:21AM
Despite the NBA lockout, the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame ceremonies will go on as scheduled.
‘‘We have been declared a ‘safe zone’ in terms of current players interacting with NBA team managers,” Hall of Fame president and CEO John Doleva said in an interview Thursday. ‘‘We’re a separate entity from the NBA anyway. Our program is to always honor basketball at every level and the individuals who make it great.
‘‘So we have not been told there will be any restrictions about [management] and current players interacting or any seating restrictions at our reunion banquet, our pre-enshrinement cocktail and the enshrinement ceremony itself. NBA-TV cameras will be free to interview people, including current players.”
Doleva added that former Bulls assistant coach Tex Winter, severely hampered after a stroke in 2009, has said he will attend.
The three-day ceremonies in Springfield, Mass., will start Aug. 11, and three members of the Class of 2011 have ties with the Bulls: former players Dennis Rodman and Artis Gilmore and Winter. Also, former Bulls publicist Brian McIntyre will receive the John W. Bunn Lifetime Achievement Award, and former Bulls play-by-play announcer Jim Durham will receive the Curt Gowdy Media Award. A delegation from Bulls management will attend.
The lockout already has resulted in the cancellation of summer leagues and the rookie transition program, and, except for special circumstances, members of team management are forbidden from socializing with current players.
There were reports that Charlotte Bobcats owner Michael Jordan and Los Angeles Clippers coach Vinny Del Negro were threatened with $1 million fines if they played golf alongside current NBA players in a celebrity charity outing in Stateline, Nev.
‘‘That report was false,” NBA publicist Tim Frank said. “Both these men were cleared to participate in that outing. Another exception was granted to [Dallas Mavericks owner] Mark Cuban and [Mavs coach] Rick Carlisle to attend the ESPYs, where Dirk Nowitzki, the team and Carlisle were honored. The lockout will have absolutely no effect on the Hall of Fame ceremonies.”
Usually, current NBA players attend the ceremonies to receive awards or to support former teammates being inducted.
“[New York Knicks guard]Chauncey Billups will definitely be there because he will receive an award for his charity work,” Doleva said. “So we expect to have a good time celebrating basketball.”