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Michigan Sports Hall of Fame to induct two classes in 2021; 2020 honorees to be revealed soon

Tony Paul
The Detroit News

Detroit — The Michigan Sports Hall of Fame induction ceremony was supposed to take place Friday, but the day came and went without even a peep on who's in the 2020 class.

On Tuesday, the Hall of Fame announced this year's ceremony has officially been postponed, and that a double-class will be inducted Oct.1, 2021, at MotorCity Casino.

An announcement on the 2020 inductees is expected to come in the next month, said Scott Lesher, chairman of the Hall of Fame. In recent years, the Hall of Fame would use the visibility of a Tigers game on Fox Sports Detroit to make the official announcement.

Example of the plaques made for Michigan Sports Hall of Fame inductees.

"We're trying to get that situated," Lesher said. "It'll be something probably virtual."

The Hall of Fame has the names of the eight 2020 inductees, selected via a combination of fan and committee voting, but has declined to reveal the names.

Among the top names on the 2020 ballot were Lions legend Calvin Johnson, former Pistons greats Chauncey Billups and Richard Hamilton, and controversial Michigan Fab Five member Chris Webber.

Fan voting was scheduled to end April 30.

Lesher said the Hall of Fame committee continued to hold out hope for holding a ceremony this year, amid the COVID-19 pandemic, until there was no time left.

There was some talk of going virtual for the ceremony, but that idea was nixed — for a variety of reasons, the biggest which might've been the fact that the induction is the organization's biggest fundraiser of the year.

"We gave it a little bit of thought," Lesher said. "But in all honesty, we thought the in-person thing is so much more honorable."

That will make the 2021 ceremony a mighty big one, with eight inductees from 2020, eight from 2021, and a 17th honoree in former Piston Grant Hill, who was scheduled to be enshrined in 2019 but was unable to attend the ceremony.

The 2021 ceremony will mark the second-biggest induction in the organization's history. The 2012 class, with the organization catching up on legends honorees, had 24 members.

The Michigan Sports Hall of Fame doesn't have a permanent home, but rather leases the inductee plaques out to universities and pro sports teams for them to display as they see fit.

The complete 2020 ballot: Professionals — Billups, Bennie Blades, Antonio Gates, Kevin Glover, Hamilton, Johnson, Igor Larionov, Derek Lowe, Pudge Rodriguez and Sandra Jo Shiery. Amateurs —Derrick Alexander, Shane Battier, Tony Esposito, Drew Henson, Jake Long, Deanna Nolan, Jennie Ritter, Webber, Lorenzo White and Jordyn Wieber. Coaches — Tommy Ivan, Margo Jonker, Anita Jo Lake, Bob Parks and Pete Schmidt. Media — Reggie Hall, Tom Kowalski, Mickey Redmond, Mary Schroeder and Tim Staudt.

tpaul@detroitnews.com

Twitter: @tonypaul1984