College basketball game in DC has mission: help marginalized students at HBCUs

One of the top men’s college basketball teams in the nation will play in D.C. Saturday night in a game that hopes to deliver a message and results beyond the court.

The Entertainment and Sports Arena in Congress Heights will host the HBCU Roundball Experience between sixth ranked Michigan coached by former Wizards star Juwan Howard and HBCU school Prairie View A&M.

The game is part of the Coaches vs. Racism initiative with a portion of proceeds from tickets sales to Saturday’s matchup used to support marginalized students and student-athletes who are unable to complete their educations because they don’t have the money for tuition.

Coaches vs. Racism is a nonprofit that will distribute money raised from the game with a special emphasis on students at historically Black colleges and universities.

“The biggest reason why HBCUs schools were established was because of systemic racism,” said Prairie View A&M head coach Byron Smith. “Dating back over 100 years ago people of color, minority people, were not allowed to go to mainstream institutions.”

Smith said he believes Saturday’s game against Michigan is not only a chance to compete against one of the best teams in the country, but more importantly continue the conversation about ending racism so this time is the start of a “movement and not just a moment.”

“Our kids are definitely aware of the significance of this game,” said Smith. “There is a lot of focus on social justice, and my players want to be a part of it. The quest to be better must continue and Saturday’s game will raise awareness in the fight against racism.”

Dave Johnson

Dave Johnson is Senior Sports Director and morning sports anchor. He first arrived at WTOP in 1989, left in 1992 and returned in 1995. He is a three-time winner of the A.I.R. award as best radio sportscaster in D.C. In 2008 he won the Edward R. Murrow award for best writing for sports commentaries.

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