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Fan voting will weigh into Hall of Fame selections beginning in 2013

Feb 24, 2012, 12:01 PM EDT

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Here’s a curveball for you: Beginning with the Basketball Hall of Fame class of 2013, fans around the world will be able to take part in the Hall of Fame selection process. That’s a pretty significant step for any Hall of Fame body, much less one with a history of controversial, closed-door decision making.

According to an announcement made by Jerry Colangelo at a press conference in Orlando on Friday, the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame has partnered with ESPN to create an online voting framework based on the accepted finalists for each Hall of Fame class, following a simple “yes or no,” format. The top three online vote getters among each crop of finalists will receive one additional “Yes” vote for the sake of final tabulation; enshrinement requires 18 of such votes in total, leaving the online portion of the balloting a relatively small — but not unsubstantial — piece of the final decision.

Odd though it may seem that any basketball fan  — regardless of whether they’re well-versed or misinformed — will be able to vote on something as enduring as a Hall of Fame honor, this is a zero-risk enterprise for the Hall. Online voters will be restricted to a pre-screened crop of worthy candidates, effectively limiting their influence. Plus, the online vote only impacts the top three vote getters overall, meaning that in most cases, the fans will simply be affirming the no-questions-asked inclusions who already would have been selected without issue.

It’s a nice token gesture for fan involvement in an oft-debated process, but this isn’t earth-shattering, even though it may be ground-breaking.

  1. limonadamas - Feb 24, 2012 at 12:38 PM

    Who comes up with these ideas? I guess the Hall wants more publicity?

  2. dacapt704 - Feb 24, 2012 at 1:53 PM

    This is stupid…most NBA fans 25 and under have no clue about anyone who played pre-Jordan era.

    I bet on the Bernard King post there are millions that will say “Who?” SMH…shame

  3. southbeachtalent - Feb 24, 2012 at 2:10 PM

    Extremely bad idea.. Look at the All Star game, it’s a popularity contest.

  4. goforthanddie - Feb 24, 2012 at 3:31 PM

    Soooo…Take people stupid enough to vote an injured player into a starting All-
    star position, and let them decide who deserves eternal memorialization?
    I’d say this is dumber than MLB letting its All-Star game affect the World Series, but nothing can be dumber than that. Nice try though.

  5. tcclark - Feb 24, 2012 at 8:39 PM

    This is a terrible idea. It can, and probably will, have an effect. This will be large market dominated, with every Laker, Celtic, or Knick with the opportunity to get enshrined, getting that extra vote because they have more fans. This isn’t the All-Star game where “if fans want to see them then they should” (which i don’t agree with). Fan’s aren’t going to get to watch them play or anything. I don’t care if Lakers Fans want to see every one of their players enshrined, if they don’t deserve it than they shouldn’t get in. (and i’m mostly talking to those of you who argued that Robert Horry and Derek Fisher are locks to get in)

    If it started this year we all know Reggie would get that vote while other more deserving players like Bernard King and Ralph Sampson probably wouldn’t.

  6. mbrester - Feb 25, 2012 at 4:58 PM

    I believe it is a good idea. It will result in a finalist getting only one vote. I believe it will not put a unworthy person in the Hall of Fame. It will result in a person who is on edge getting in. If a unworthy person gets in you take away the vote.

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