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New York, NY (February 1, 2012) – MSG Networks will celebrate Black History Month throughout February with special blocks of programming on both MSG and MSG+ starting February 1. The networks  will also showcase new vignettes, titled “Voices of Harlem,”  featuring teenagers from Urban Word NYC, a youth development and education program that focuses on creative writing, journalism, college preparation, literature and hip-hop that partners with the New York Knicks each year for “Knicks Poetry Slam.”

Tonight at 7:30 p.m., MSG+ will kick off Black History Month with an all-new episode of the MSG Original program “Halls of Fame” featuring Doug Williams, the first and only African-American quarterback to win a Super Bowl.

In the episode, Williams talks about playing in Super Bowl XXII.

“When I hit the field, I didn’t hit the field as a black quarterback, I hit that field as the quarterback of the Washington Redskins,” said Williams. “Walking off the field that day, (teammate) Joe Jacoby put his arm around me and told me ‘red, green, black or yellow, Doug Williams, you are our quarterback’ and that was good enough for me.”

Throughout the month on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Saturdays, MSG+ will show classic episodes of “Halls of Fame” and “The Game 365” featuring host Fran Healy as he interviews prominent African-American athletes and figureheads, including Ernie Banks, Joe Frazier, Willie Mays, Jackie Joyner Kersee and Rachel Robinson. On February 13, 19 and 27, MSG will feature blocks of “Halls of Fame” and “The Game 365” episodes, and will also telecast the MSG Original documentary “Lapchick and Sweetwater: Breaking Barriers.” 

MSG Networks will also run special Black History Month vignettes called “Voices of Harlem” that feature teenagers from Urban Word NYC. The up-and-coming poets use spoken word to celebrate the spirit of Black History Month and describe their inspirations from the history of African-Americans in New York City.

In one of the vignettes, Mega, an Urban Word NYC participant, recites: “You see, the ‘20s became the millennium, the paintbrush became the pen, the dancer became a historian, and black became black for the first time in Harlem.”

In 2003, Urban Word NYC partnered with the New York Knicks to create “Knicks Poetry Slam,” a competition that gives young people a vehicle to express their thoughts, concerns, passions and dreams through the written and spoken word. In 2011, the “Knicks Poetry Slam” program awarded more than $450,000 in educational grants and prizes to local students, including four-year full-tuition scholarships and $10,000 in Nike branded gym equipment to each of the three winners’ schools.

Below is a list of Black History Month programming on MSG Networks.

“Lapchick and Sweetwater: Breaking Barriers”
When New York Knicks head coach Joe Lapchick signed Nat “Sweetwater” Clifton to an NBA contract in 1950, together they helped break the color barrier in the NBA, making Clifton the first black player to play for the Knicks. This documentary celebrates the desire of two men to create change in a time that fought so deeply against it.
(MSG: 2/13 – 8:00 p.m.)

“The Game 365: Celebrating Black History Month”
Baseball historian Steve Jacobson and legendary basketball champion Johnny “Boy Wonder” Isaacs discuss the untold stories of black athletes who served as unsung pioneers in the wake of Jackie Robinson breaking the major league baseball color barrier for the Brooklyn Dodgers. 
(MSG+: 2/1 – 7:00 p.m.; MSG: 2/13 – 9:00 p.m.)

“The Game 365: Negro League Baseball”
A tribute to Kansas City's Negro Leagues Baseball Museum. With over 120 years of history, the museum’s collection dates back to the first black professional baseball team and the formation of the first black professional baseball league that featured Jackie Robinson and Satchel Paige.
(MSG: 2/13 – 6:30 p.m.; MSG+: 2/29 – 7:00 p.m.)

“The Game 365: Walt ‘Clyde’ Frazier
(MSG+: 2/11 – 11:30 a.m.)

“The Game 365: Richard Williams”

(MSG+: 2/14 – 5:30 p.m.)

“The Game 365: C. Vivian Stringer”

(MSG+: 2/18 – 11:30 a.m.)

“The Game 365: Willie McCovey”
(MSG+: 2/28 – 5:00 p.m.)

“Halls of Fame: Doug Williams”
(MSG+: 2/1 – 7:30 p.m.; MSG: 2/13 – 9:30 p.m.)

“Halls of Fame: Rachel Robinson”
(MSG+: 2/4 – 11:00 a.m.; MSG: 2/13 – 7:00 p.m.)

“Halls of Fame: Jackie Joyner Kersee”
(MSG+: 2/4 – 11:30 a.m.)

“Halls of Fame: Vonetta Flowers”
(MSG+: 2/7: 5:00 p.m.; MSG: 2/13 – 6:00 p.m.)

“Halls of Fame: Don Newcombe”
(MSG+: 2/8 – 7:00 p.m.; MSG: 2/19 – 3:30 p.m.)

“Halls of Fame: Larry Doby”

(MSG+: 2/8 – 7:30 p.m.; MSG: 2/13 – 7:30 p.m.)

“Halls of Fame: Ozzie Smith”
(MSG+: 2/11 – 10:30 a.m.)

“Halls of Fame: Moses Malone”
(MSG+: 2/11 – 11:00 a.m.)

“Halls of Fame: Ernie Banks”
(MSG+: 2/14 – 5:00 p.m.)

“Halls of Fame: Joe Frazier”
(MSG+: 2/15 – 7:00 p.m.)

“Halls of Fame: Larry Holmes”
(MSG+: 2/15 – 7:30 p.m.)

“Halls of Fame: Maury Willis”
(MSG+: 2/21 – 5:00 p.m.)

“Halls of Fame: Rickey Henderson”
(MSG+: 2/21 – 5:30 p.m.)

“Halls of Fame: Alan Page”
(MSG+: 2/22 – 7:30 p.m.)

“Halls of Fame: Elgin Baylor”
(MSG+: 2/25 – 10:30 a.m.)

“Halls of Fame: Hank Aaron”

(MSG+: 2/25 – 11:00 a.m.)

“Halls of Fame: Willie Mays”

(MSG+: 2/29 – 7:30 p.m.)

For more information about MSG Networks’ Black History Month programming and to watch the “Voices of Harlem” vignettes after they debut on television, visit www.msg.com.


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