Smith Center hosts celebrity basketball game

Rap artists and Black Entertainment Television personalities collided Saturday in the Smith Center as crowds from all over D.C. descended on campus to watch the Reebok Hoop Magic Celebrity basketball game.

The biggest draw for the event was 13-year old rapper Lil’ Bow Wow’s halftime performance of his chart-topping “Bow Wow (That’s My Name).”

BET Rap City host Tigger teamed up with other TV personalities against Master P and other rappers for a friendly game in front of a packed house.

The event coincided with the NBA All Star weekend in D.C.

“We want people to feel a connection to the celebrities they see on TV and feel apart of the whole weekend,” said Robert Santwer, director of Corporate Communications for BET.

Crowd-favorite Master P, who signed to play in the NBA with the Toronto Raptors in 1999, lit up the scoreboard with an impressive court appearance along with fellow No Limit Records rappers Silkk the Shocker and C Murder.

Clint Evans, vice president of marketing and promotions for BET, said he had no trouble deciding the halftime entertainment.

“(Lil’ Bow Wow) is an obvious choice,” he said. “He’s number-one billboard.”

BET selected the Smith Center as a central site for people from all parts of D.C., organizers said.

“It was the most appropriate venue,” Evans said. “It was a neutral site.”

Few GW students were among crowds of elementary and high school students at the event. Students that showed said they came to catch a glimpse of the celebrities.

“I am really enjoying this and I think we should have more celebrity-oriented events,” sophomore Uchenna Okereke said. “I don’t think they publicized this well enough.”

The event raised $10,000 each for the Hoop Dreams and Little Blue House charities, Evans site.

“It was a great cause and we have been given so much so its time to give back,” Tigger said.

Russ Rizzo and Mosheh Oinounou

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