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Howard takes the trophy at the first NBA HBCU Classic

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Howard chapter.

For the first time ever, the NBA hosted the HBCU classic as a part of All-Star weekend and our very own Howard Men’s Basketball team faced off against Morgan State. The event gave national spotlight to HBCUs everywhere and showed that HBCU sports deserve the same recognition as D1 athletics. The NBA and AT&T donated $10,000 to each school to support student athletes’ education and development. Two students, each from Howard and Morgan’s cheer teams, also received a $50,000 scholarship from Mountain Dew to support their HBCU journey.  

All-Star weekend took place at the Wolstein Center at Cleveland State University, and although Howard provided free tickets transportation was not included. So shout out to the dedicated students and alumni that made it out! The event was full of HBCU students, alumni, and Divine Nine members – the whole stadium was full of black excellence! With celebrity appearances from Spike Lee, DJ Envy, Jesse Jackson, and many more. Each team even got to meet with Chris Paul and Stephen Curry before the game. 

The event started out with a battle of the bands between Howard’s Showtime band and Morgan State’s Magnificent Marching Machine. Giving the ultimate drumline experience. Then for opening ceremonies, Howard’s Showtime band performed the black national anthem “Lift Every Voice and Sing” alongside Primetime Emmy-Award winner Keke Palmer. 

Then as the game began, Morgan State started off strong in the first half with a 9 point lead before the half. The playing styles between teams were very different. Morgan State’s team played aggressively in the first half, causing their starters to have to ride the bench before they fouled out. While the Howard boys played the first half safe and timid, it was clear the chemistry was off. The teams ended the first half with a score of 37-28 with Morgan in the lead. 

Halftime was the real show with a performance from Howard’s Bisonettes and Morgan State’s cheer teams, followed by a cheer battle where the girls did not come to play. The NBA did a great job of giving the audience a real HBCU experience with classic songs like “Wipe me Down” and “Knuck if you Buck,” to get the crowd hype. 

As the second half began, both teams came out stronger than ever. The biggest struggle for both teams were fouls, most points scored in the second half were free throws. But Howard used the score from the first half to fuel them for the second, scoring a total of 40 points to bring them in the lead. The last few seconds tensions were high with a two point difference and Howard in the lead. But star shooter Kyle Foster brought home the win for Howard. 

Congratulations to the Howard Men’s Basketball team for bringing home a win and shout out to Morgan State for a great game. The NBA has opened the door of opportunity for HBCUs, and I look forward to seeing what the next HBCU classic has to offer. 

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