Shaquille O’Neal doesn’t plan on watching the 2020 Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame ceremony in late summer, as he believes it would be far too emotional due to how Kobe Bryant’s absence will cast an undeniable pall over the event.
Bryant headlines perhaps the greatest Hall of Fame class in its history. He will be posthumously enshrined with fellow honorees Kevin Garnett and Tim Duncan.
On his “The Big Podcast with Shaq” show this week, O’Neal said his emotions are still too raw from Kobe’s death — which was less than three months ago (but feels like much longer) — to watch the Hall of Fame ceremonies.
“Still miss him. Still think about him every day,” O’Neal said of his former Lakers teammate.
“Shaq says on the ‘scale of sadness’ with 10 being the worst, he’s finally at a ‘2’ right now,” per TMZ, “… and watching the HOF ceremony ‘would bring me back to a 7, 8, 9 and I can’t right now.‘
“O’Neal continued, ‘It would be great if his wife gave a speech or his mom or dad give a speech but I’ll see that afterwards. I’m not gonna watch the ceremony.‘
O’Neal was understandably left devastated when Bryant, daughter Gianna and seven others perished in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, Calif., on Jan. 26.
The 2020 Basketball Hall of Fame Enshrinement Weekend is currently scheduled for Aug. 28-30. Whether the coronavirus pandemic will impact those plans is uncertain at this point. When the ceremony is held, though, there is no doubt that Bryant will be given proper tribute, even if his palatable absence will make for a somewhat somber event at some points.