When Nora Beck, BC ’83, was a student at Barnard, she was a force to be reckoned with on the basketball court. The three-year captain won the respect of her teammates and the attention of women’s basketball fans across the nation, becoming the second All-American the program had ever seen. The 1983 MVP’s number, 32, was retired upon her graduation that year, and now hangs in the Columbia Athletics Hall of Fame....
Mike Smith, CC ’20, a former star for the Lions who transferred to the University of Michigan last year, has announced that he will enter the NBA Draft. Smith was a key contributor to the Wolverines, who earned a spot in the Elite Eight in the NCAA March Madness tournament this year before being knocked out by UCLA....
With influx of new talent, former Columbia coach Kenny Blakeney is working to transform HBCU basketball
When Kenny Blakeney joined Jim Engles’ staff in 2018, he was trying to satisfy “an itch.”
As a child, junior swimmer Clare Larsen loved to play sports. Despite her passion, however, she always thought of sports as a boys’ world, and the male-dominated culture initially discouraged her from chasing her dreams of Division I recruitment. The message from people around her, Larsen said, was that “sports are healthy for a young woman, but [they’re] not necessarily something that you pursue.”...
Editor’s note: Several of the athletes were interviewed before the Ivy League made the official decision to cancel the spring sports season.
Colin Kaepernick famously took a knee against police brutality in 2016. The #MeToo movement reached the sports world in 2018 and exposed repulsive misconduct in many spheres. After the murders of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor by police in 2020, strikes and civic engagement from almost all corners of the sports world, especially the WNBA, swept the nation. In short, modern activism in sports is at an unprecedented level, professor Frank Guridy said at the start of Monday’s Athlete Activism webinar....
During the height of racial injustice protests across the country last September, a group of Columbia student-athletes decided to form the Columbia Black Student-Athlete Alliance. The BSAA aims to provide a space for members to come together, reach out to the community, and educate their peers about the challenges they face as Black student-athletes....
‘The numbers speak for themselves’: Despite successes of recent Lions, college basketball suffers from lack of Black head coaches
When Jean Bain got the call, he was sitting on a couch in his Morningside Heights apartment, unwinding after a Saturday afternoon basketball practice.
‘He was larger than life’: John Howard Johnson’s fight for integration stretched far beyond Columbia
Everywhere he was known, John Howard Johnson left an unmistakable impact. His life’s achievements stretched from Columbia’s basketball courts to the streets of Harlem and the fields of Negro League Baseball. The strength of his character made an impression on every group of which he was a part....
Basketball, fencing face significant Giving Day losses, but that may not have immediate consequences
March 7 was the last time the Columbia men’s basketball team took the floor. That night, now over eight months ago, rival University of Pennsylvania thrashed the Lions in Philadelphia 85-65, wrapping up a devastating 6-24 campaign that saw Columbia finish at the very bottom of the Ancient Eight....