If you have never been to the Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Massachusetts, let me give you a quick introduction. It makes for a very cool trip for any basketball fan. There are interactive activities where you can discover you have a twenty-inch vertical leap or compare your height to Manute Bol. Theaters play different basketball-themed documentaries, specials, and movies. The plaques designating the inductees cover the walls of the large central room, which is a multi-story round globe shape. Like a…a….basketball! In the center of that room is a full-size basketball court. Dennis Rodman sits in one corner and you can feed him bubble gum from a bucket.
Similar to every other business on the planet, the Hall of Fame has had to change its business practices as there are several risks inherent to this setup. Being inside a theater sounds like a bad idea. Touching basketballs that other folks have used is not ideal. There are many interactive touchscreens throughout, too. Don’t want to lick those anymore. The Hall has done a good job of putting protocols in place. Everything is sanitized constantly, even the basketballs people use. They give you your own stylus for using those touchscreens. It’s as good a setup as you can hope for.
I have an idea to make it better. Let’s get a safe, new attraction going. Build some plexiglass cubicles. You throw a set of virtual reality glasses and a clean box in there and we’re good to go. The exhibit will give visitors the chance to experience amazing moments in NBA history. The VR really allows the viewers to immerse themselves. For the initial rollout of options to choose from, I can envision the Hall of Fame going a little conservative.
Feel the power—and resulting humiliation—of Shaq dunking on your head in 2001. Try to stop Michael Jordan from hitting one of his 37 iconic game-winners. Going farther back, I’d love to see a line of sweaty 13-year-olds boys wearing Zion jerseys and headbands trying to hit a layup over a virtual 1961 Bill Russell. You can practically feel the ball smashing back into their nose!
Still innovation cannot remain stagnant! Much like this site, the Hall of Fame will have to keep adding content to keep us interested as this pandemic stretches into 2024. The next download of experiences is when it really gets fun.
VR Exhibit 1: Release Your Malice at the Palace
Are you a Pacers fan? How about the Pistons? Or just a fan? You get to pick a side in the Malice in the Palace! Be a fan as Ron Artest charges you. Be a Pacer and try to hold back Stephen Jackson. Throw a beer or throw a punch, the choice is yours!
VR Exhibit 2: Poison His Airness to Advance
You work in a pizza shop in 1997 in Salt Lake City. You’re not totally over the murder of Biggie and you’re mad at the world. You also love the Utah Jazz. OK, maybe that Venn Diagram doesn’t quite overlap. But anyway, you have to choose what to put on a pizza in order to poison Michael Jordan before the next finals game. Spit, rat poison, grease trap residue? So many options!
VR Exhibit 3: Drug Experience 1
For the adults taking their kids to the Hall of Fame, they can find out just how much cocaine they can blow and still make the roster of the 1982 Knicks. For the younger crowd, they’ll go on a scavenger hunt to gather enough weed to supply the 2002 Jail Blazers.
VR Exhibit 4: Robbin’ Robin
You get the chance to dribble against the defense of Scottie Pippen in 1996. While Tony Kukoc holds up copies of both of their paychecks. And explains why the difference is justified. Go ahead. Take one dribble.
VR Exhibit 5: Mind Games
Have you ever wanted to try to sink a foul shot while Kevin Garnett and Larry Bird berate you? Now you can! And remember, Garnett once called a player with alopecia a cancer patient. Want a truly unique experience? Fill out a quick personal survey beforehand. “Hey Cody, you could hit this shot if you weren’t such a poor father. Your friends all have careers, but you just got a job missing free throws, I guess.” Oof.
VR Exhibit 6: Operation Bubble Storm
Choose between a IG model, dealer, and Postmates delivery guy and try to sneak them into the recent NBA bubble in Orlando. It’s one part Splinter Cell, one part NBA 2K.
A few others we’re still workshopping in the MMH Lab:
- Obstacle Course: traverse an obstacle course that includes Jason Kidd kicking out his leg while you’re dribbling down the sideline and J.R. Smith throwing chicken tortilla soup at you.
- Winning Wordsmith: Cover a game alongside JVG and Mike Breen and our advanced computers analysis system will decide if you did a better job than Mark Jackson.
- Trade Machine: Navigate the massive confusion from the common last name and trade for the right Brooks between Dillon and MarShon.
- Sack a Sterling: Kick Donald Sterling’s ass.
OK, Hall of Fame. I’ve given you the blueprint. Now it is your move. This would be a dynamic way to continue to bring in traffic in a safe and exciting way. I restricted my list to the NBA, but if you open it up to college and/or the Olympics, the possibilities are truly endless. There is fun for the whole family. Do you readers have your own ideas about fun VR experiences for the Hall? Hit us up at @musicmovieshoop on Twitter or @musicmoviesandhoops on FB and let us know. We’d love to hear them.