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First Take Helps Showcase HBCU Week In Wilmington, Del.

ESPN VP, Network Content, David Roberts, explains how participating in the event "underscored our commitment to servicing all sports fans."

EDITOR’S NOTE: Last Friday (Sept. 20), First Take aired live from the 76ers Fieldhouse in Wilmington, Delaware, as part of HBCU (Historically Black Colleges and Universities) Week. Commentators Stephen A. Smith – who was named the event’s ambassador by the city – Max Kellerman and host Molly Qerim Rose were joined by about 4,000 fans, many of whom then attended the HBCU College Fair. The Fair offered potential students possible on-site admission and scholarships in addition to learning more about all HBCUs have to offer. ESPN Vice President, Production, David Roberts, who oversees the network’s production of First Take, the 6 p.m. ET edition of SportsCenter, Get Up, High Noon, Highly Questionable, Around the Horn and PTI, explains the significance of the event.

When you talk about HBCU Week, you’re talking about more than a week. You’re talking about a lifetime.

There are countless leaders and others in positions of responsibility who attended these vitally important institutions. Our commitment to this event, in addition to expanding on what the Historically Black Colleges and Universities bring to the core of this country, underscored our commitment to servicing all sports fans.

It was a natural fit for a talent like Stephen A. Smith, who graduated from Winston-Salem State University, to lead this program and support all the HBCUs.

“You have a lot of folks that come from HBCUs, a lot of folks that want to come to an HBCU and a lot of folks that may not know about HBCUs,” Smith said as he opened Friday’s show. “Obviously we’re here to bring attention to HBCUs, particularly to help those especially from impoverished backgrounds and let them know they can have the opportunity to go to college and get a higher education as well.”

It was an easy decision for us to do the show, to do something that was worthwhile and in the process reflect a truly positive fact of life in the African-American community. Bottom line, the better off the HBCU communities are, the better off the entire nation will be.

The Winston-Salem State University Marching Band opened First Take with a performance.

(Mikey Reeves/ESPN Images)

A behind-the-scenes look at First Take on-site at the 76ers Fieldhouse.

(Mikey Reeves/ESPN Images)

First Take fans hold up large photo cut-outs of Max Kellerman and Molly Qerim Rose.

(Mikey Reeves/ESPN Images)

A Steadicam operator captures First Take.

(Mikey Reeves/ESPN Images)
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