Black Magic with 'The Pearl'

monroe_300.jpgRejoice, sports fans... March Madness is here again.  The buckets of Gatorade are chilling, office Xerox machines are poised to run off bracket sheets, and although CBS has exclusive broadcasting rights to all NCAA tournament games, ESPN is getting in on the roundball action too.

On Sunday, March 16, ESPN begins airing 'Black Magic,' a two-night special that weaves together the history of the civil rights movement and the growth of basketball, told through the experiences of players & coaches from Historically Black Colleges and Universities (or HBCUs.)

During segregation, HBCUs were the only option available for Black students to pursue higher education.  By extension, the athletic programs of these schools also took on great importance in the development of Black athletes.

Earl Monroe is an alumnus of historically Black Winston-Salem State University.  He is well known for his stellar college and NBA career, but these days he's enjoying getting his feet wet in the world of film.  Monroe served as a producer for 'Black Magic,' and he hopes that by bringing some lesser known basketball stories to the fore, people like John McLendon, Bob Love, and Ben Jobe will get some of the public acclaim they richly deserve.

It was also Monroe's goal to produce 'Black Magic' as a source of pride for HBCUs.  Having done so much for the game of basketball and for the players & coaches who called them home, Monroe wants to see alumni associations step up and take these special institutions to 'another level.'  

Whether or not 'Black Magic' brings in record donations to HBCUs, it certainly reveals some of their proud history.  The legacy of HBCUs is steeped in tradition and is profoundly linked to today's game.

Earl Monroe's take on the legends of basketball, his own brilliant career, and the new film, 'Black Magic,' in the current edition of Bob Edwards Weekend.

-Dan Bloom

'Black Magic' official website

Earl Monroe in action: