By Cianna Hope Reeves,
JSU Student Intern,
The wait is finally over for one Callaway High School basketball team – 45 years later.
Callaway’s men’s basketball team hustled their way to victory in the 1973 state championships and finally received recognition in a way that no one would ever forget the phenomenal team – a historic mark into Callaway’s first basketball Hall of Fame. Players, men basketball stand-outs and former head coaches were awarded May 26 at the Medical Mall in Jackson, Miss. for their substantial effort and commitment to the sport of basketball.
Hosted by Bobby Hathorn, chairman of the Callaway Hall of Fame Committee and Odell Jenkins, co-chair, the event was held to commemorate its former star players and instructors.
Teammates of the past reunited after four decades of playing high school ball. They listened to performing artist and Callaway graduate, Eddie Wood, and conversed with current students, families and alumni.
To officially mark the members into the Hall of Fame Jackson Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba presented awards to the ten players who won the state tournament.
As the team collected their medal and championship rings, they also had a surprise for their former high school, one that would inspire current and aspiring basketball players to win – a candid banner photo of the 1973 Men’s Basketball Team pictured alongside the golden trophy. The audience erupted in cheers and, with pride, the team of ten held the banner like old times.
On behalf of the late former head basketball coach Bobby Ray and the late assistant coach Thado Gordon, medals of honor were given to their families for their ability to lead the team to a winning streak of 43-3.
Marcela Singleton, state championship recipient and basketball hall of fame inductee, stated the event was special for him.
“I got the call and it just ran chills through my body, and to get here and see all the old fellows I hadn’t seen in 45 years, it was really special,” expressed Singleton.
Given that most teammates have relocated to various states, he was pleased with their attendance and it also reminded him of something else – an unbroken bond of brotherhood.
“Amongst us, as a team back in the day, we were always a close knit unit, and so the support has always been there even though we are all living across the country,” stated Singleton.
Herman Veal, class of 1979 graduate, was appreciative of being honored as a Hall of Fame inductee player and was overjoyed to converse with his old colleagues.
“It is definitely astounding. I never thought something like this would happen, it’s really humbling,” stated Veal.
He added, “Some of these guys, I have not seen for 35 years, and it is a great pleasure to see them again, hug on them and love on them.”
Although many decades had passed, the honorary medals, the reunion of champions and the family introductions became an unforgettable night for the stars.