Empowering and Inspiring One Generation to the Next
The Cleveland Cavaliers Annual Black Heritage Celebration (BHC) presented by Hennessy celebrates black history by acknowledging the difference makers of the past and how they inspired change to give the next generation the opportunity to realize their dreams.
When Kareem Abdul-Jabbar retired from the NBA in 1989, he had scored the most points, blocked the most shots, won the most MVP awards, and played in more All-Star Games than any other player in the sport.
Wilt Chamberlain was the first basketball player to score 100 points in a single game during the 1961 season and the first player in the NBA to score 30,000 points.
Track and Field star, Jesse Owens (1913 - 1980) broke many records at the 1936 Olympic games in Berlin, including becoming the first athlete to win four gold medals in one Olympiad.
Baseball star Satchel Paige was more than 40 years old the entire time he pitched for the major leagues, making him the oldest rookie in baseball history.
Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated on Maya Angelou's birthday on April 4th, 1968. Angelou stopped celebrating her birthday for many years afterward, and sent flowers to King's widow every year until Mrs. King's death in 2006.
Dr. Guion S. Bluford, Jr., Annie Easley
The Cavs have teamed up with NASA to recognize African Americans trailblazers in the field of math and science with a special halftime tribute showcasing brilliance across generations in Cleveland. The team will tell the stories of the late Annie Easley, a NASA Hidden Figure* who worked at Glenn Research Center in Cleveland, as well as Dr. Guy Bluford, the first African American in space and Northeast Ohio resident. From Easley to Bluford and onward to the next generation of NASA thinkers and explorers, the halftime will celebrate diversity, excellence and ambition throughout history.
*The recent film, titled Hidden Figures, tells the story of some of NASA’s African-American female mathematicians who overcame social obstacles to help Ohioan John Glenn become the first American to orbit the Earth in his Friendship 7 spacecraft 55 years ago this month.
Arguably boxing's most celebrated athlete, heavyweight champion Muhammad Ali was also known for his public stance against the Vietnam War and his longtime battle with Parkinson's disease. The Cavs will honor the legacy of Muhammad Ali - one of the most significant and celebrated sports figures of the 20th century during a memorable halftime presentation. As part of the halftime, the team will remember a notable meeting in Cleveland, known as the “Ali Summit,” where Ali brought together the top black athletes and leaders in the country (including Jim Brown, Bill Russell, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Carl Stokes) in support of his personal decision to opt out of the Vietnam War draft.
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Martin Luther King Jr. was a Baptist minister and social activist, who led the Civil Rights Movement in the United States from the mid-1950s until his death by assassination in 1968. In 2016, the Cavaliers remembered the pastor, activist and humanitarian who led the African American civil rights movements, with a halftime performance featuring a powerful interpretation of a speech he gave at Cleveland’s Glenville High School in 1967. With an assist from some of the city’s most notable black influencers, the halftime creatively united Dr. King’s impactful message with an incredible 3D court-projected montage.
In 2016, the Wine & Gold honored the legacy of Olympian Jesse Owens, a Cleveland native and track and field trailblazer, with a memorable halftime presentation celebrating the 80th anniversary of the 1936 Berlin Olympic Games where he won four gold medals. Owens, nicknamed “The Buckeye Bullet,” is considered one of the greatest track and field athletes of all time.
Carl and Louis Stokes
In 2016, the Cavs recognized Carl and Louis Stokes – brothers and Cleveland leaders who laid the foundation for African Americans across the country – during a special halftime presentation. Carl Stokes was appointed the first-ever African American mayor of a major U.S. city when he took office in Cleveland in 1967. Louis Stokes served 15 terms in the United States House of Representatives and was the first black congressman elected in the state of Ohio.
Herb Douglas, Harrison Dillard and John Carlos
In 2015, the Cavaliers honored Herb Douglas, Harrison Dillard and John Carlos - three former Olympic medalists who laid the foundation for African American athletes of today. Herb Douglas is the oldest living African American Olympic medalist, taking the bronze medal in the long jump at the 1948 London games. Harrison Dillard, born in Cleveland and graduate of Baldwin Wallace College, is the only male to win Olympic titles in both the sprinting and hurdling events. John Carlos, a bronze-medal winner at the 1968 Summer Olympics, is best remembered for courageously raising his black-gloved fist as an act of protest in Mexico City.
The Key To Unlocking Your Future
The Marcus Graham Project is coming to Cleveland to look for the next generation of talent in the advertising and sports marketing industry and an opportunity to earn a slot in MGP's competitive iCR8 Summer Boot Camp in Dallas.
The FREE Sports Marketing Workshop is hosted by the Cleveland Cavaliers and Hennessy and will feature a panel of some of the country’s top marketing executives. More information will be released soon.