COVID-19

Hooplandia Basketball Tourney Postponed to June 2021

Play Another Day

That’s the way the ball bounces — at least when a major regional sporting event gets upended by a global pandemic.

Given the sweeping impacts of COVID-19, and with no timeline in place for reopening the region’s economy and tourism, organizers of Hooplandia, the planned 3-on-3 basketball tournament and festival scheduled for this June, announced that the event has been postponed to 2021.

At the same time, the organizers reaffirmed their commitment to the event in 2021, and, in creating a legacy celebration for the Springfield region and the birthplace of basketball, outlined a series of smaller events in 2020 to engage the community and build momentum toward next year. The newly scheduled dates for Hooplandia are June 25-27, 2021, with games hosted by the Big E Fairgrounds and the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.

Boys and Girls Clubs in Western Massachusetts and Connecticut will remain the lead philanthropic recipient of the event, which was slated to host 2,500 teams and 10,000 players.

“We are heartbroken that the road to Hooplandia has been closed to us in 2020, but we are fully committed and excited about bringing this to life in 2021,” said Eugene Cassidy, president and CEO of Eastern States Exposition. “There has been a tremendous outpouring of support from businesses, community partners and organizations, and basketball fans from throughout the Northeast, and we are grateful for validating this vision and being a part of it. While we cannot properly structure and execute the event this year because of these extraordinary circumstances, we are already working on our plans for next year.”

Added John Doleva, president and CEO of the Basketball Hall of Fame, “from the beginning, the intent has been to build a legacy event that will last and grow for decades, celebrating basketball and its culture in this region and beyond. Like everyone, we look forward to normalcy and our great traditions, and want Hooplandia to be one of those. The passion for Hooplandia and the sport has been awe-inspiring to me, and I know this event will be of championship caliber in 2021.”

To help build a bridge to the 2021 Hooplandia, a number of smaller events are being planned, with details forthcoming. Those include:

• Hooplandia at the Hall of Fame Enshrinement. A series of 3-on-3 courts and games will be curated for outdoor play in the parking lot of the Hall during Springfield Celebration Day on Sunday, Aug. 30, as part of Enshrinement Weekend activities. The festival environment will feature food, music, and entertainment.

• Hooplandia World Slam Dunk Championship at the Big E. High-flying entertainment comes to the Big E fair (Sept. 18 to Oct. 4), with a spectacle of slam-dunk artists from around the world competing for the title of Hooplandia World Slam Dunk Champ. Date to be announced.

• Hooplandia Showcase Games on the Court of Dreams at the Hall of Fame. During the winter of 2020-21, a series of high-profile 3-on-3 games will be scheduled for competition on the legendary hardwood. Details to be announced.

All teams that have registered and paid for Hooplandia will be issued full refunds. Teams of players age 8 and under were slated for free registration in 2020, honoring the lives of Kobe and Gianna Bryant — Bryant wore #8 during a portion of his Los Angeles Lakers career in the NBA. The free under-8 registration will be extended to the 2021 event.

Hooplandia’s Instagram account (@hooplandia) and website (www.hooplandia.com) will provide ongoing information and plans for the event and its transition.

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