The stars were out for last night’s inaugural “Beyond the Game” Celebrity Basketball Game.
Nashville doesn’t have a reputation for basketball, thanks to the Tennessee Titans and more recently the Nashville Predators. However, on Friday, Tennessee State University was the place to be for hoops and football fans alike.
TBH Sports’ first Celebrity Basketball Game featured NBA players such as Philadelphia 76ers’ Robert Covington, free-agent Isaiah Canaan and NFL players such as New York Giants’ Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, Baltimore Ravens’ Anthony Levine, Cincinnati Bengals’ Brandon LaFell and many more.
Covington’s 48 points led Team Black to a 101-88 victory over Team Red, led by Canaan’s 32 points.
The event began with a quick meet and greet in which fans got the chance to have their pictures taken and receive autographs from the players.
Former Tigers return to TSU
Covington, Rodgers-Cromartie and Levine are all alumni of TSU. The trio cherished the opportunity to put on a show for the community.
The 76ers’ defensive wingman recently made a significant donation to his alma mater’s athletic program.
“It’s an amazing feeling to give back to where I grew up in college,” Covington said. “I had an amazing four years here. The main thing for this event is just to give back to the community and just really focus on really giving kids the opportunity to really showcase and be around this type of talent.”
In addition, Covington has evolved into one of the best defensive players in the NBA. He finished tied for second in steals per game last season (1.9) and finished 4th in defensive player of the year voting.
His former teammate (Houston Rockets, 76ers) in Canaan, put on a shooting clinic, showing flashes from the old Murray State/TSU rivalry days.
“It was all about just having fun and interacting with everybody,” Canaan said. “Robert and company put on a good celebrity game so it was an honor to come to and play.
After playing for the Chicago Bulls last season, Canaan received big news earlier this summer. The point guard will be inducted into Murray State’s Hall of Fame class of 2018.
At halftime, the TSU’s Aristocrat of Bands put on a performance showcasing their dynamic sound and style.
NFL Players try their hand at basketball
The NFL made its presence felt in this game as well. Their athleticism transitioned very well despite their bulky body frames.
TSU welcomed defensive backs Levine and Rodgers-Cromartie back into “The Land of Golden Sunshine.”
“Any time I get a chance to come back to TSU and do something for the community, I’m all for it,” Levine said. “This is where it all started for me. I was given my opportunity to come here. I love Big Blue Nation. Any time I’m able to come back, I’m with it.”
Levine received a three-year extension this offseason to remain with the Ravens.
Two-time Pro Bowler Rodgers-Cromartie, one of the most instrumental players for the Giants last season, gave the crowd something to cheer for by connecting on three three-pointers.
“It feels really good, just to come back to the school that gave me the opportunity to play man,” Rodgers-Cromartie said. “It’s always a blessing to see a lot of old friends support you.
He also stressed the importance of notable alumni making appearances at their alma mater.
“When you come back, they see your face and it gives them a little bit of motivation. ‘If Dominique (Rodgers-Cromartie) and Anthony (Levine) walked through these same halls we did, maybe we have a chance too,’ so it’s always good to come back to give that kind of motivation.”
Other players were in attendance as well. Former Titans running backs Eddie George and Chris Johnson made appearances. George served as the coach for Team Black.
The “Beyond the Game” Celebrity Basketball Game was an event coordinated by TBH Sports. Proceeds benefit Purpose Preparatory Academy and Athletes Can.