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Classic For Columbus announces details around 2nd Annual College Basketball All-Star Game & Celebrity Extravaganza

HBCU-focused event featuring game, community events set for April 22 at Schottenstein Center

Classic For Columbus announces details around 2nd Annual College Basketball All-Star Game & Celebrity Extravaganza

HBCU-focused event featuring game, community events set for April 22 at Schottenstein Center

COLUMBUS, OH - Classic For Columbus announced today the 2 nd Annual College Basketball All-Star Game &; Celebrity Extravaganza will return to Columbus, Ohio for 2023. The event is scheduled for Saturday, April 22, at the Schottenstein Center on the campus of The Ohio State University, welcoming the Historically Black Colleges & Universities (HBCU) cultural event.

“Our sports/entertainment events spotlight education and institutions of higher learning,” said John Pace, CEO/President of Classic For Columbus. “Holding this event on The Ohio State University campus underscores our belief that education is the pathway to upward mobility for the students that we serve.” This year’s All-Star Game & Extravaganza will feature an entire day of educational, cultural, and entertainment festivities—including last year’s favorites and some new attractions—all at The Schottenstein Center. There’s something for everyone. Everything you expect from an HBCU Classic! New to the lineup this year is the Greater Columbus Basketball Legends Hall of Fame Induction Celebration. This year’s inductees include Voice of the Buckeyes, Paul Keels and Ronnie Stokes, St. Charles Prep and OSU basketball standout, Marquis Miller as well as basketball royalty, Jared Sullinger and family, Trey Burke and family, and other basketball legends.

Festivities begin at 12 p.m. with the Crane Group College Career & Community Fair. Colleges will provide enrollment, financial aid, and scholarship information. Local employers will be looking for job seekers and community-based groups will provide information about available services. Tipoff for the All Star Game is at 5 p.m. with top seniors from HBCUs around the country versus dynamic players from universities across Ohio (Ohio All-Stars vs. HBCU All-Stars). Former Chicago Bulls coach during the Michael Jordan era, Jim Cleamons, makes a return appearance to coach the Ohio All-Stars team. Cleamons vows to avenge last year’s down-to-the-buzzer loss to the HBCU All-Stars.

This is a showcase of top talent as eight of last year's players are now playing professionally.

During the April 22 news conference, organizers announced that this year’s event will feature the World-Class R&B Concert starring The Isley Brothers. The iconic music group will perform live at Schottenstein Center following the All-Star Game.

The Isley Brothers’ music career spans seven decades. The group has released 111 singles and 31 studio albums, recording for a number of labels including Motown Records. The Isley Brothers are known for their smooth vocals and guitar solos, dating back to when Jimi Hendrix was in the group. The tradition is carried on today by Ernie Isley. The Isley Brothers’ unique style merges R&B, Rock, and Soul. The brothers are originally from Cincinnati, Ohio.

Corporate sponsorships like Nationwide, the event’s first and largest sponsor, helped Classic For Columbus contribute over $430,000 to scholarship programs and HBCUs in its first year. “It has long been important to Nationwide to promote scholarship and professional development among diverse communities,” said Jim McCoy, Nationwide’s associate vice president of sports marketing. “Events like this give us an opportunity to support a unique event in our hometown, share our Nationwide story with diverse audiences, and engage with HBCU talent.”

Huntington National Bank has also joined as a sponsor. Donald Dennis is Huntington’s Executive VP, Chief Diversity Equity Inclusion & Culture Officer, and serves as Board President for Classic For Columbus. One of CFC’s strategic partnerships is with Ohio Education Association, with the goal to recruit black and brown public education teachers with an emphasis on black males who are underrepresented across Ohio. “Huntington’s purpose is to make people’s lives better, help business(es) thrive, and strengthen the communities we serve,” said Dennis. He continues, “We are thrilled to sponsor this event and support the Ohio Education Association with the goal of bringing more black and brown teachers to public education. We all benefit when educators represent the full spectrum of diversity that exists in our classrooms across the state. Increasing diversity and inclusion strengthens education. It improves teaching and learning. Students enrich their abilities to think critically and creatively, especially when all learners’ abilities and attributes are embraced.”

The All-Star Game & Extravaganza has earned the moniker “Party With A Purpose.” Beyond basketball, all attendees both young or seasoned will either be introduced to a college campus experience and the HBCU culture or nostalgic for their own college experience.

Tickets for the All-Star Game & Extravaganza start at $15 and are available on Ticketmaster Friday January 20.

Visit for event and ticket information.

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