The James Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame induction process has long been one of the most secretive and exclusive of all the major sports shrines. Jerry Colangelo, Naismith's newly elected chairman of the board, is looking to change that. His plan includes having both fans and the media involved in the selection process.
"Nothing is etched in concrete at this point," Colangelo said. "I have to get my board to agree with me. I just believe it's the right thing to do and when you believe that and you're passionate about it, you usually can get something done."
Colangelo is taking the same aggressive approach as Hall chairman that he did as director of USA Basketball, which he helped return to global dominance after nearly a decade of disappointing results. In fact, he is hoping to utilize his authority in both camps by having the current squad play in Madison Square Garden next fall before leaving for the World Championships in Istanbul, Turkey, as part of a multi-day celebration of the Hall, the original 1990 Dream Team and the current squad, which has been dubbed the Redeem Team.
To accommodate the Redeem Team's schedule, the 2010 induction ceremony would be pushed up from its traditional September date to mid-August, with an eye toward making the change permanent.
The first order of business, though, is to restructure the board itself, breaking it into executive and working branches. As of now, Colangelo said, the 40-some member board is too "cumbersome" to get anything accomplished.
Next up would be to look at individuals who are not in the Hall and whose eligibility to gain entrance has expired. ABA stars Artis Gilmore and Mel Daniels were among the names he mentioned, but he added, "There are no shortage of individuals to reconsider. And here's the kicker: I want the media to be involved and the fans to participate."
Colangelo also said he would look to make both parties part of the annual selection. That would bring the Naismith Hall of Fame process more in line with the NFL and Baseball Halls of Fame, who utilize long-standing members of the media in their selection processes and make the voting results public.
Ric Bucher covers the NBA for ESPN The Magazine.