Students and staff end Martin Luther King Jr. Week with charity basketball game


Students and staff members participate in a charity basketball game during MLK week on Jan. 19 at the Student Activities Center.

Central Michigan University students and staff members ended Martin Luther King Jr. Week with a competitive basketball game to raise money for charity and to celebrate MLK's legacy.

The event took place Jan 19. in the Student Activities Center. This was the fourth annual charity event for MLK Week. The game’s purpose was to raise money for the Multicultural Leadership Conference, which helps students to gain leadership skills. The money raised will be used to help fund the programs and giveaways involved with the conference.

“It’s great to see so many people turnout for this event,” said D'Wayne Jenkins, assistant director of Multicultural Academic Student Services who coordinated the event and coached the blue team. “This probably the biggest turnout we’ve had.”

The game took place in one of the sports forum basketball courts inside the SAC. Players practiced before the game began. 

There were two teams: the red team, sporting red t-shirts, and the blue team, wearing blue t-shirts. The blue team consisted 9 players on their team, and the red had 8. Each team had a coach, and a mix of both staff, student, male and female players. 

With over 100 people in the audience, the court was surrounded by students and community members cheering on the teams. 

The game was competitive between teams throughout the entire game. The coaches were leading their teams on, and the referees were throwing around fouls left and right. Players were also getting physical at times, with players tripping and scrambling gain control of the ball. 

The red team opened strong with a 10 to 13 lead at the end of the first quarter, and stayed with a strong lead by halftime, holding with an 18 to 28 lead.

But while competition was high, it was more of a playful competition, according to the players.

“It was competitive, and obviously people were out here to win, but it was respectful,” said Albion graduate student Rhiki Swinton, who played for the blue team. “There was no bashing of other people.”

Lansing junior Tyler Graft said he could tell that the competitors were having fun, and he enjoys watching his friends play.

The blue team began to make a comeback, ending the third quarter down by one point, with the score standing at 36 to 37. The fourth round remained close, with the blue team retrieving a small lead. 

In a last-ditch effort, the red team went on a flurry of score attempts to gain back the lead, with the crowd cheering and reacting to the close game. But the efforts made by the red team didn’t earn them a victory, with the final score being 46 to 43, with the blue team winning by three points.

Officer Laura Martinez of CMUPD played for the red team and said it was disappointing that her team lost, yet that wasn’t her focus.

“I was very proud to represent the CMUPD, in regard to (the celebration of)Martin Luther King,” she said.

Detroit graduate Chuck Mahone said that the competition of the game was "friendly" and explained he participated for the cause.

“I wanted to come out and celebrate MLK’s legacy, and the point is for donations,” he said.

Stan Shingles, assistant vice president for University Recreation, said he participated to interact with students. 

“For me, it’s a great way to engage and connect with students,” Shingles said. “It wasn’t about winning, because the winner is the charity”.