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Howard Men’s Basketball Dominates in Annual MLK Day Classic

MLK Day Classic 2023

WASHINGTON – The second annual MLK Day Classic saw the Howard Bison take on the Morehouse Maroon Tigers in a game that drew over 2,500 spectators from all around the country. The Bison won the game in an 89-65 victory and led by as much as 40 points. The game was broadcast nationally on Fox Sports. Sophomore Elijah Hawkins led the team to victory with 15 points, seven rebounds, and six assists.  

During the game, current players from NBA Championship team Golden State Warriors Kevon Looney, Jordan Poole, Jonathan Kuminga, Moses Moody, and Donte DiVincenzo visited to show their support. The Bison continue to drive impact on and off the court with their partnerships with NBA teams. During the game’s half-time show, Oakland rapper Mistah F.A.B., performed “My Perfect City,” a song condemning violence in the Black community and promoting racial equality. The team also surprised two mothers attending Howard University with scholarships. Aniya Majors-Rivera and NaKeisha Rawlings were presented with $7,500 scholarships funded by the Golden State Warriors and Washington Wizards. The surprise reinforced the team’s commitment to supporting mothers in the Black community, a cause which is the focus of this year’s service efforts.  

This year, Bison men’s basketball partnered with local nonprofit Mamatoto Village for an MLK Day of Service Initiative focused on Black maternal health. The team worked with the organization to package 8,000 care packages for expecting mothers. Mamatoto Village is devoted to serving Black women through the creation of career pathways in maternal health and providing accessible perinatal support services to expectant Black mothers. They are an organization run by Black women for Black women, and an ideal partner for the MLK Day of Service. 

“I’m really excited for our program that we got spend Saturday as our day of service doing community work with Black maternal health at the Mamatoto Village. Our players had to really dig in and it was very fulfilling for all of us, including myself. It was a 12-hour day yesterday and we had to turn around and crank it up against a very testy, hungry Morehouse team. I’m excited that we were able to close it with a victory,” said Kenneth Blakeney, Howard University head men’s basketball coach. 

After the game, spectators stayed for a sports and culture panel featuring four-time NBA champion Andre Iguodala of the Golden State Warriors; rookie Jonathan Davis of the Washington Wizards; Chase Center chief legal officer and Morehouse alum David Kelly of the Golden State Warriors, and Blakeney. The panel was hosted by Marc Spears, senior NBA writer at Andscape.  

On Saturday night, the team had the opportunity to spend a few minutes at dinner with Martin Luther King III, who happened to be at the same restaurant. King shared some inspiring words with the team. “It was an honor to be able to meet him. One thing that stuck out to me was that he said he didn’t want his dad’s legacy to be limited to a dream. Sometimes his legacy comes up short in the media when people fail to understand all the work he did and the contributions he made to society and to the world,” said Blakeney.  


About Howard University

Founded in 1867, Howard University is a private, research university that is comprised of 14 schools and colleges. Students pursue more than 140 programs of study leading to undergraduate, graduate and professional degrees. The University operates with a commitment to Excellence in Truth and Service and has produced two Schwarzman Scholars, four Marshall Scholars, four Rhodes Scholars, 12 Truman Scholars, 25 Pickering Fellows and more than 165 Fulbright recipients. Howard also produces more on-campus African American PhD. recipients than any other university in the United States. For more information on Howard University, visit www.howard.edu.