Grove Header- White.png
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

Former Syracuse University Basketball Players Reflect on Racial Atmosphere Ahead of Legends Game, Part of Black & Latino Alumni Event

cbt_postcard 2021.jpg
Coming Back Together event features alumni basketball game, lectures, educational and networking events.

Syracuse fans get a chance to look back on their favorite past Orange stars as the players reunite to chase the campus environment of the past. It’s part of Coming Back Together an event that bring Black and Latino alumni to Syracuse University for educational events and networking.

The most unique collegiate venue would pack in the most unique student body to watch legends lace up.

Three-time all-Big East forward John Wallace called playing in the Dome the greatest experience ever. He starred for SU hoops in the early-mid 90s. But his time on the Hill wasn’t just memorable because of the accolades or the 1996 Final Four appearance.

“There was no feeling that you weren’t included, that here wasn’t enough of you in a group.”

At the time, Syracuse was one of the most diverse campuses in America. While that still might be true, Wallace hardly even recognizes campus. After all, something like the bias, hate speech and racial discrimination highlighted by the #Not Again SU protests never happened when he was on the Hill.

“Shocking.” Wallace reacted.  “It’s just not the experience we had at Syracuse.  Being part of the Black student body back in the 1990s, it was an incredible [place, not just for student athletes, but for students of all colors.  So, we just want to get back to that kind of mindset of how it was back then.” 

And to help do that, Wallace is playing in the Coming Back Together Celebrity Classic, which will contribute to the Our Time Has Come Legend’s Scholarship Fund. It’s awarded to underrepresented students attending Syracuse University. For women’s basketball legend Sue Ludwig, as a white student on campus in the 80s, she says diversity was crucial.

“I remember one of my roommates back in college, I used to give her a dollar to go buy something to eat or to do her laundry. … Then I realized, you know, wow, my dad’s putting money in my account every week.” 

Ludwig will be coaching with Derrick Coleman opposite Billy Owens and Felicia Leggette-Jack. Other big names in the reunion basketball game include Eric Devendorf, Don McPherson, Roosevelt Bouie, Demetris Nichols, and many more.