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SPRINGFIELD — On Tuesday, the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame and White Lion Brewing Co. announced the two will collaborate and release a special ale with a commemorative collector’s label designed to capture the imagery of the Hall of Fame’s annual enshrinement program. The collector’s label melds the Hall of Fame’s iconic dome with the city of Springfield skyline into White Lion’s award-winning brand.

“White Lion is extremely honored to partner with the Naismith Memorial Hall of Fame for an annual release affectionately dubbed Enshrinement Legend Series, which pays homage to the birthplace of basketball, the Basketball Hall of Fame, and class honorees,” said Ray Berry, White Lion president. “The city of Springfield is the home of this global sport, and we are excited to play a role in the annual enshrinement-ceremony experience.”

The Basketball Hall of Fame will present the class of 2021 Saturday, Sept. 11 at the MassMutual Center in downtown Springfield.

“There are a number of festivities planned, and the Hall of Fame is extremely excited to highlight our local brewery and our collaboration enshrinement beer,” said John Doleva, Basketball Hall of Fame president and CEO. “Working with the White Lion team in preparation of this release has been such a fun and unique experience. We are committed to work collectively to raise awareness and resources for our Hoophall Assists Program, which gives back to our local community.”

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SPRINGFIELD — U.S. Rep. Richard Neal visited the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame Monday to announce $3,740,728 in funding from the U.S. Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Shuttered Venues Operation Grant (SVOG) program. Joining Neal for this announcement was Hall of Fame President and CEO John Doleva.

“These funds are incredibly instrumental to operations like the Basketball Hall of Fame who suffered greatly because of the pandemic,” Neal said. “For the safety of the American people, the government forced these agencies to close their doors. And now, it is the government again stepping in to make sure that they are able to get back on their feet.”

Doleva added that “the Shuttered Venue Operations Grant commitment means the Basketball Hall of Fame can stabilize its business operations that were so severely impacted over the last 15 months and allow us to better position ourselves for long-term survival and future growth. Without the SBA’s SVOG, many venues, like ours, would have struggled to regain footing and suffered long-term consequences that for some may have been permanent.”

SVOG was established by the Economic Aid to Hard-Hit Small Businesses, Nonprofits, and Venues Act, and amended by the American Rescue Plan Act. The program includes more than $16 billion in grants to shuttered venues, to be administered by SBA’s Office of Disaster Assistance. Eligible entities include live venue operators or promoters, theatrical producers, live performing-arts organization operators, museum operators, motion-picture theater operators (including owners), and talent representatives.

Across Massachusetts, 244 grants have been awarded, totaling $194,408,323. Thirty-three of those are in the First Congressional District, totaling $20,010,864. In addition to the Basketball Hall of Fame, they include Agawam Cinemas; Jacobs Pillow Dance Festival in Becket; Chester Theatre Co.; Public Emily Inc. in Conway; Stationery Factory Events in Dalton; Luthier’s Co-Op in Easthampton; Berkshire Choral International, Berkshire International Film Festival, Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center, and Shaw Entertainment Group in Great Barrington; Massachusetts International Festival of the Arts in Holyoke; Athlone Artists, Edith Wharton Restoration, and WAM Theatre in Lenox; Exit Seven Players in Ludlow; HiLo Holding Co. and Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art Foundation in North Adams; Barrington Stage Co. and Berkshire Theatre Group in Pittsfield; Corcoran Productions in Richmond; PDP Productions in Shelburne; Egremont Village Inn and Triplex Management Corp. in South Egremont; Tower Theatres in South Hadley; Bold New Directors in Southampton; Cindy Pettibone in Southwick; Springfield Symphony Orchestra; Old Sturbridge Inc.; NV Concepts Unlimited and the Theatre Project in West Springfield; and Community Images Inc. and Williamstown Theatre Foundation in Williamstown.

Daily News

Just when you thought things couldn’t get any worse…

Last week, the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame announced it will postpone its induction ceremonies for the highly anticipated class of 2020 until next spring — and move those ceremonies to Mohegan Sun in Connecticut.

This is a huge blow for Greater Springfield on a number of levels and just the latest in a series of setbacks resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. Indeed, this is destined to be one of the most memorable induction ceremonies in the history of the hall, with a class that includes the late Kobe Bryant, Kevin Garnett, Tim Duncan, and many others. This induction ceremony was going to be star-studded, provide a huge financial boost for the city at a time when it really needs it, and help broadcast Springfield’s revitalization to the rest of the world.

And now, all of it will be at Mohegan Sun, which, according to Hall of Fame President and CEO John Doleva, can provide a bubble-like environment that can better protect attendees from the virus. Doleva has vowed this is a one-time move away from Springfield and insists the step is largely unavoidable and necessary to help the hall survive a year that has seen visitation plummet and revenues fall precipitously.

Like Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno, who has ‘Home of the Basketball Hall of Fame’ printed on his city of Springfield stationery, we’ll take Doleva at his word and admit that COVID-19 has brought about some changes that no one could have anticipated, especially in the world of sports.

Indeed, they’re playing hockey and basketball in August, and will go on playing it into September. The Toronto Blue Jays are playing baseball games in Buffalo, N.Y. because officials in Canada won’t let them play there. All the NBA teams are playing in a bubble in Orlando. The Masters will be played without fans. On it goes.

But the Basketball Hall of Fame induction ceremonies in Uncasville, Conn.? That certainly won’t sound right during the broadcast. Can you the imagine baseball inducting anyone anywhere but Cooperstown? Or football inducting anyone anywhere but Canton? The answer is no. Indeed, those institutions have postponed their ceremonies until next year, but kept them at their traditional sites.

Unfortunately, the Basketball Hall of Fame simply cannot afford to do that. To take a line from another sport, it is up against the ropes and in what amounts to survival mode.

Because of this, Springfield needs to swallow this bitter pill and look at the bigger picture. Yes, it desperately needs the 2020 induction ceremony in its downtown. But what it really needs, long-term, is a healthy Hall of Fame that will be a cornerstone in the years to come — after the virus is behind us.

This step, as painful as it is, might help ensure that health.

 

Daily News

PHILADELPHIA — Basketball Hall of Famers Julius Erving and Sheryl Swoopes, as well as U.S. Rep. Richard Neal and John Doleva, president and CEO of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, were on hand Tuesday at the U.S. Mint in Philadelphia, which unveiled a special coin commemorating the Hall of Fame, the Republican reported.

The Mint makes two commemorative designs a year and offers them in limited quantities. Surcharges collected from sales of the coin — expected to be about $10 million — will go toward the Hall.

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