SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Springfield’s most premier basketball tournament will no longer be taking place in January, the 2021 Hoophall Classic has been canceled due to COVID-19.
The tournament brings in thousands of fans every year to watch the best high school hoops players from across the country. It also has an economic impact of $4 million.
One of the highest-profile tournaments in high school basketball held in the birthplace of the sport will not be tipping off in 2021. The Hoophall Classic, which in the past has hosted the likes of Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, and Jayson Tatum has been canceled due to COVID-19.
The tournament played annually at Springfield College had one of their biggest turnouts ever in 2020 when Lebron James was in attendance to watch his son Bronny. Basketball Hall of Fame President John Doleva told 22News hosting teams from all over the country in one gymnasium would be too great of a risk.
Doleva said, “The rules are changing almost momentarily on who can travel, what states are playing basketball, what schools have limitations on out-of-state travel and league travel so there were so many things against pulling this thing together.”
Blake Arena at Springfield College usually fills with thousands for The HoopHall Classic but the economic impact of the tournament extends well beyond the hardwood. Many area hotels and restaurants would typically be filled to capacity over the MLK holiday weekend, generating millions for the city.
Doleva added that the tournament will return to its normal time and place in 2022.
22News was also able to ask Doleva about the upcoming Hall of Fame enshrinement of the Class of 2020 scheduled to take place at Mohegan Sun in May. He said as of now, the event is still scheduled to go on as planned, but the 2021 Enshrinement will be held back in Springfield.
Doleva told 22News the Basketball Hall of Fame Class of 2021 will be enshrined at the MassMutual Center in Springfield in September 2021.