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MSG Networks Announces Special Programming in Celebration of Black History Month

MSG Networks today announced a month-long lineup of special programming to celebrate Black History Month, which will air alongside Knicks, Rangers, Islanders and Devils games on both MSG and MSG+.

MSG Network’s special Black History Month coverage will spotlight influential Black athletes who have had a lasting impact in sports and pop culture.  An MSG Networks original interstitial content series will profile trailblazers such as Nat “Sweetwater” Clifton, the first Black player for the Knicks, Willie O’Ree, the NHL’s first Black player, and Val James, the first Black American to play in the NHL, with a new interstitial video premiering each night in MSG Network’s live games and feature programming.  Commemorative programming will also include original and acquired documentary films on Black athletes in basketball and hockey, candid conversations on race and in-depth stories and interviews with prominent Black figures in sports, including a roundtable discussion, hosted by MSG Network’s Monica McNutt, with top WNBA players on the state of women’s basketball in the United States.

As part of its special lineup, MSG Networks will air “Willie,” a full-length documentary, which premiered on ESPN in 2019, that follows the amazing story of Willie O’Ree, from his great-grandfather’s escape from slavery in 1779 to Willie’s ascent to hockey’s highest honor – induction into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2018.  Additionally, the network will air “Soul on Ice: Past, Present and Future,” a documentary film that retells the virtually unknown contributions and stories of Black athletes in hockey over the years, with interviews from current and former players, including Anson Carter and P.K. Subban.  MSG Networks’ original documentary, “Lapchick and Sweetwater: Breaking Barriers,” which first aired in 2008, and profiles former Knicks head coach Joe Lapchick, who signed Nat “Sweetwater” Clifton to an NBA contract in 1950 to help break the NBA color barrier will also be featured.

Other Black History Month programming on MSG Networks will include an episode of “Beginnings” with Walt “Clyde” Frazier taking viewers on a journey to his hometown of Atlanta and sharing about his childhood growing up in the segregated South. Frazier will also sit down with his former teammate Earl “The Pearl” Monroe for a powerful discussion on race and the pressures each faced early on as Black athletes. Other programming will include episodes of “MSG Shorts,” including a conversation with Misty Copeland, the first Black woman to be named principal dancer at The American Ballet Theatre, former Knicks star Larry Johnson and former Rangers goalie Kevin Weekes meeting up with world-renowned chef Marcus Samuelsson at his Red Rooster restaurant in Harlem and more.

All Black History Month programming airing on MSG Networks will also be available on MSG GO, the network’s live streaming and video on demand platform for smartphones, tablets and computers.

About Jerry Milani

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Jerry Milani is a freelance writer and public relations executive living in Bloomfield, N.J. He has worked in P.R. for more than 25 years in college and conference sports media relations, two agencies and for the International Fight League, a team-based mixed martial arts league, and now is the PR manager for Wizard World, which runs pop culture and celebrity conventions across North America. Milani is also the play-by-play announcer for Caldwell University football and basketball broadcasts. He is a proud graduate of Fordham University and when not attending a Yankees, Rams or Cougars game can be reached at Jerry (at) JerryMilani (dot) com.

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