CBS SPORTS CELEBRATES THE HISTORY, CULTURE AND IMPACT OF HISTORICALLY BLACK COLLEGES AND UNIVERSITIES WITH 3-HOURS OF ORIGINAL PROGRAMMING ON MEN’S FINAL FOUR SUNDAY
Three Special Programs Highlighting HBCUs to Air on CBS on Sunday, April 4, Beginning at 3:00 PM, ET
CBS Sports will televise a special three-hour block of original programming focused on the history and culture of Historically Black Colleges and Universities and their contributions and impact on college basketball on the CBS Television Network on Men’s Final Four Sunday, April 4 (3:00-6:00 PM, ET) as part of the Network’s ongoing commitment to HBCUs and highlighting Black stories on its platforms.
Sunday’s block of programming begins with Big House, The Pearl & The Triumph of Winston-Salem State (3:00 PM, ET), continues with Soul of the Game: The John McLendon Story (4:00 PM, ET) and wraps up with HBCUs: Elevating The Game (5:00 PM, ET.) Full descriptions of each program can be seen below.
The day kicks off the partnership between CBS Sports and HBCU All-Stars LLC, a Black-owned sports marketing and event company founded by Travis L. Williams, that was announced earlier this year. Beginning in New Orleans in 2022, CBS Sports and HBCU All-Stars LLC will present the HBCU All-Star Game, a men’s college basketball showcase held on the Sunday of the Men’s Final Four weekend in the host city, featuring the best HBCU men’s players in the country.
Additionally, as part of ViacomCBS’ previously announced commitment to HBCUs, the corporation has established an annual scholarship fund and internship opportunities dedicated to HBCU students in an effort to foster, highlight, identify and recruit the many talented and accomplished students from all HBCUs, with both programs beginning this year.
Following are the descriptions for each program:
BIG HOUSE, THE PEARL & THE TRIUMPH OF WINSTON-SALEM STATE
In a time of intense racial turmoil, a star from Philadelphia descended upon a North Carolina teachers college, Winston-Salem State. Earl “The Pearl” Monroe was so spectacular that the Rams had to move from their tiny campus gym to the Winston-Salem Memorial Coliseum so thousands more fans could see him play. As a senior in 1966-67, “The Pearl” averaged 41.5 points per game and helped Winston-Salem State become the first HBCU to win a NCAA championship in any sport (Div. II). In the process, Monroe helped ease racial tensions in the still-segregated Winston-Salem by bringing everyone together to marvel at his greatness.
The documentary, voiced by NBA All-Star Chris Paul, features interviews with Monroe; teammates, including Eugene Smiley and Ernest Brown; former Wake Forest men’s coach and former CBS Sports analyst Billy Packer; and head men’s coach Clarence Gaines’ son, Clarence Gaines II. Produced by Blake Berson with Sammy Smith as Associate Producer.
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SOUL OF THE GAME: THE JOHN MCLENDON STORY
John McLendon was a true pioneer who actively used basketball to advance the Civil Rights cause throughout his lifetime. McLendon changed how the game of basketball is played, revolutionizing the game into the fast paced game that we see today. His dedication to the sport garnered many well-earned honors, awards and inductions into several Halls of Fame including the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame as both contributor and coach. Known for his integrity and mentorship, his legacy lives beyond the hard court and has influenced generations. During a time of racial unrest and injustice, his contributions helped lay the groundwork for the Civil Rights Movement. The documentary focuses on his life and what he brought to the world through basketball and beyond.
The documentary is produced by Intersport, an award-winning content and production company. Former NBA star Grant Hill is the executive producer and Michelle Major is the director. Alanna Campbell served as coordinating producer for CBS Sports. The documentary features interviews with former NBA All-Star Allan Houston, Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr; current men’s collegiate head coaches LeVelle Moton, Mike Krzyzewski, John Calipari and more. The John McLendon Scholarship Foundation is committed to building future leaders through scholarships, mentorship and leadership programs to minority students.
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HBCUs: ELEVATING THE GAME
HBCUs have long produced students that have extended, elaborated and elevated society, ushering in a radical transformation of what has come to define America. One of the most prominent of those game changers is Earl “The Pearl” Monroe. Monroe hosts this one hour special, guiding the audience through the rich history of HBCUs from the hardwood and beyond including their impact on music, fashion and the future. CBS Sports’ AJ Ross, a proud Howard University alumnus, also lends her voice throughout the show while Artist Yaw Geez contributes a moving and uplifting spoken word piece on the influence of HBCUs in America. Exclusive features include stories on hip-hop superstar and former Alabama State men’s basketball player 2 Chainz, women's basketball legend Yolanda Laney and two-time NBA Champion Lindsey Hunter. Plus, a look back at two of the greatest Men’s NCAA Tournament upsets (1997 Coppin State over South Carolina and 2001 Hampton over Iowa State).
HSCTV and Only Child Productions led the production efforts with Pier De Sanctis as the executive producer, Alejandro Danois producing and Johnny Sweet directing the piece. Mark Grant served as coordinating producer for CBS Sports.
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