Big Apple Classic: HBCU Hoops To Invade MSG Saturday

By Off The BASN Sports Wire
Updated: September 26, 2006

RICHMOND, Va. — “Madison Square Garden is honored to host the inaugural Big Apple Classic. Featuring marquee match-ups from Historically Black Colleges and Universities is a great addition to the storied tradition of college basketball here at MSG,” said Steve Mills, President and COO.

The Big Apple Classic, in conjunction with CIAA and MEAC universities, will pay tribute to classic rivalries in a double header on Saturday afternoon at Madison Square Garden with Virginia Union and Bowie State tipping-off at 1p.m. and Howard and Hampton Universities following at 3p.m.

The Big Apple Classic will display southern athletic talent in one of the most famous venues in the world. Featuring the infamous battle between the HU’s–Howard University and Hampton University and the southern classic battle between two of the country’s best Division II schools, Virginia Union University and Bowie State University.

With Virginia Union and Bowie State placing in the Top 10 of the NCAA Finals, this match-up brings national talent and flair to New York City. Skill will determine which university is the “King of the Court.”

This anticipated weekend event, scheduled to occur annually, will mirror the atmosphere of the NBA’s All-Star Weekend with a kick-off event, half time performances, celebrity appearances and after parties that will have attendees talking for weeks.

Festivities kicked off on Thursday and will continue through Sunday with the double header game being played on Saturday at Madison Square Garden.

Mid-Eastern Atlantic Conference Commissioner Dennis E. Thomas says, “This is a tremendous opportunity for MEAC institutions, Hampton and Howard Universities, to have exposure for their institutions and basketball programs. Madison Square Garden is a perfect place to showcase MEAC basketball.”

The CIAA couldn’t be more excited about the overdue recognition its division brings to the table. CIAA Commissioner, Leon Kerry said, “We are thrilled to have Virginia Union University and Bowie State University represent the CIAA in the Big Apple Classic”.

“This Classic falls in line with our efforts as a conference to provide meaningful and lasting experiences for our student-athletes. What other place in the country offers such diverse cultural arts, endless entertainment and record-breaking sports than New York City? Congratulations to Johnson, Inc. for creating such an enormous opportunity for our students.”

Others have shared their enthusiasm for this event with individuals such as the Rev. Al Sharpton and Andrew Carr serving on the Big Apple Classic Committee. Additionally, the National Urban League and the New York Sports Commission have both agreed to be host partners of this event.

Michael Bailey, Virginia Union University’s Athletic Director says, “Virginia Union is very excited about the opportunity to participate in the Big Apple Classic.

Playing in Madison Square Garden will increase our exposure as one of the top basketball programs in the nation as well as assist the university in recruiting quality students from the northeast region of the country.”

With thousands of Howard alumni residing in the New York area alone, Howard alumni are sure to represent which university earns the right to be called “The Real HU!”

Joe Taylor, Hampton University’s Athletic Director, said, “This is a good opportunity to showcase to New York and alumni an extraordinary brand of basketball.”

“Johnson, Inc. is honored to engage in a new relationship with Madison Square Garden and the partnering universities,” said Jeanette Walker, VP of Communications. “This is a great opportunity for HBCU alumni, community leaders, celebrities, music lovers, socially aware individuals, college students and sports fans to come together for a great college basketball weekend in New York City.”

Johnson, Inc., is a Richmond-based full-service marketing and communications firm, that creates, plans and delivers some of the largest events on the East Coast.

NOTE: For more information on The Big Apple Classic contact Sherrie Thomas, Events Manager at or visit