The Walter E. Washington Convention Center will be home to this year’s Paradise Jam, an annual tournament traditionally held in the US Virgin Islands, from November 26-28.
The announcement came on October 12 from Basketball Travelers, Inc. and Events DC, which will be hosting the event.
The US Virgin Islands Paradise Jam is a National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division 1 Men’s and Women’s College Basketball event. It takes place in November every year. The men usually play the week before Thanksgiving and the women play Thanksgiving week.
The tournament is typically held in St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands, and organized by Basketball Travelers.
The organizers made the decision to move it to the District of Columbia because of the travel restrictions stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Sports have the power to unify and inspire during challenging times – and the 2020 DC Paradise Jam tournament is a prime example of us getting creative and continuing to showcase Washington, DC, not only as the sports capital but as a hotbed for basketball events,” said Gregory A. O’Dell, president and chief executive officer of Events DC.
“We couldn’t be more excited to host the Paradise Jam college basketball tournament at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center, while prioritizing the health and safety of all the participating athletes, coaches and staff in a controlled environment,” he continued.
Events DC, the official convention and sports authority for the District, is promising to provide a safe and protected environment for the participating schools and athletes, and implement comprehensive COVID-19 protocols, in cooperation with the local DC health department and MedStar Health.
Among the DC-area teams taking part in the games are George Mason University’s men’s team and George Washington University’s women’s team.
“While we would have liked to keep the tournament in the U.S. Virgin Islands, we are pleased to have found a strong partner in Events DC,” said Nels Hawkinson, owner of Basketball Travelers. “Safety and security procedures are at the utmost importance and the Events DC, Courtyard/Residence Inn staff and city officials demonstrate the capabilities and commitment to safety that we are looking for in a host city.”