Celtics Host Annual Black History Month Event
WALTHAM, Mass. – Thursday afternoon marked the 2013 edition of the Boston Celtics’ annual Black History Month event, in partnership with the Massachusetts Army National Guard. Teenagers from Boston English High School joined Celtics guard Avery Bradley, legend Walter McCarty and recently-retired Celtic Keyon Dooling at the Celtics practice facility to honor and commemorate the history of African Americans.
Soldiers from the Massachusetts National Guard kicked off the event in the Hall of Fame room introducing themselves to the students and splitting them into several groups. Once seated, the students sat in amazement as the Celtics VIPs entered the room and greeted everyone.
After regaining their focus, the students began their first activity, which encouraged them to interact with others around the room to find the correct answers to 15 questions relating to Black History. The youth that answered the questions first received a pair of game-worn basketball shoes autographed by Bradley.
“The whole point of this activity was to go around the room and work with new people. It had a team aspect to it and there is no better place to teach teamwork to these kids than with the Boston Celtics,” Bradley later recounted.
Dooling further explained, “This activity was great in my eyes because it required the students to break outside of their comfort zones and interact with everyone.”
After the ice breaker students filed back into their four groups, each represented by a Massachusetts Army National Guard officer. Every table had a confidential, sealed envelope, which students were instructed to keep sealed until told otherwise.
“Inside each confidential envelope is a study packet for our next activity called Slammin’ Trivia,” said Boston Celtics Community Relations Director Matt Meyersohn. “You have 10 minutes to learn the information in the packet. Oh, and I forgot to mention, the winning group will receive tickets to a Celtics game. Begin!”
Students ripped open their envelopes with excitement in hopes to be the winning group.
“Everyone looks so happy studying, what’s wrong with this picture,” McCarty joked to the audience.
After 10 minutes, Bradley asked students if they had enough time to study. As the kids nodded their heads, Bradley responded, “Then let’s take a quick break and hit the court!”
On the practice court, Bradley, Dooling and McCarty held their own shootaround for about 20 minutes. Some students took the time to watch Bradley’s basketball skills while others used the time to work on their own game shooting layups, free throws and 3-point shots.
McCarty joked to chaperones and Army National Guard representatives, “I don’t know why I retired, I still got it!”
Students made their way to the bleachers Following the shootaround, splitting themselves up into their four teams in anticipation to test their studying skills for Slammin’ Trivia. Bradley, Dooling and McCarty joined Meyersohn at the trivia board where they explained the rules of the game.
“Each question is directed toward Black History Month and is separated into one of five categories: Military, Pop Culture, Sports, Politics, and History. Cards in those categories are then split from 100-500 points based on the questions difficulty,” Dooling explained to the crowd.
Bradley read off each question and the groups gave their written answers to Dooling.
“In what state did Rosa Parks refuse to give up her bus seat to a white man?” Bradley asked.
Students discussed the answer amongst their groups and passed the answer up to Dooling.
“Wow, you all are smart!” Dooling shouted. “All five answers are correct.”
Bradley read off a more difficult question to groups allowing them to earn more points if answered correctly.
He asked, “Who was the first African American actor to receive an Academy Award for best actor?”
McCarty and Dooling raised their hands, ready to shout out the answer. Two groups received points answering Sidney Poitier while the three other groups, along with McCarty and Dooling, thought the correct answer was Denzel Washington.
“I guess I didn’t study hard enough,” Dooling joked.
The winner of Slammin’ Trivia was yet to be determined after 15 minutes. Groups were separated by only 300 points and the final question allowed all groups to wager their points. If they answered correctly they received those points, and if they answered incorrectly they lost their points.
Determined for victory, all groups decided to wager all of their points.
Bradley read the question, “Who was the first African American coach in all of American professional sports?”
All groups erupted as it appeared they knew the correct answer. Dooling read off the answers explaining, “Bill Russell! Points across the board, all groups answered correctly!”
Team Neives came out victorious, winning by the slim margin of 300 points. Bradley, Dooling, and McCarty congratulated the winning team. However, the Celtics VIPs felt everyone worked so hard and got the final answer correct so the entire group received tickets to a game.
Students received an autographed Black History Month poster signed by Bradley, Dooling and McCarty, which was full of inspirational quotes by African American role models including Maya Angelou, Thurgood Marshall, and Martin Luther King, Jr.
“To be successful in anything, it takes a lot of time. It’s not only about talent but dedication and you must educate yourself. You all are taking the first step, that first direction for what you want to do with your lives. You are our future,” McCarty explained.
Before the youth left, McCarty left them with words of wisdom quoting Maya Angelou, “Give without remembering, and take without forgetting.”