College Basketball and New York City: The Remarkable Journey

When: Friday, March 13, 12:30pm – 2:00pm
Price: $25 & up | $20 for Museum Members
Big East program photo
Courtesy of BIG EAST Conference

At the heart of New York City basketball is Madison Square Garden, the world’s most famous live sports arena. It is also the home of the BIG EAST Tournament, the college basketball athletic conference that has launched the careers of dozens of players, female and male, every year since 1979. Join us for an afternoon of lively conversations moderated by sportscaster Dave Popkin about The Garden, aka “The Mecca” of college basketball; the BIG EAST Tournament as the nation’s longest-running postseason college basketball tournament at the same venue; and some of the many great players and coaches that have played at both the conference and at MSG.

Panel One (12:30 – 1:15 pm)
– Val Ackerman, BIG EAST Conference Commissioner
– Len Elmore, college basketball TV analyst 
– Joel Fisher, Executive Vice President of Marquee Events and Operations at The Madison Square Garden Company


Panel Two (1:15 – 2:00 pm)
– Andre Barrett, former NBA and international basketball player and Seton Hall Pirates alum
– Ed Pinckney, former NBA basketball player and Villanova Wildcats Alum

Includes a special screening of a featured segment of the BIG EAST at 40 docuseries.

This is the opening program for City/Game: Basketball in New York (open through January 18, 2021). To view the rest of the programs in the series, click here.

About the Speakers:
Val Ackerman was named the fifth Commissioner of the BIG EAST Conference on June 26, 2013.  She spent eight years as an attorney and executive at the National Basketball Association, was the founding President of the Women’s National Basketball Association, and is a past President of USA Basketball, which oversees the U.S. men’s and women’s Olympic basketball program.  She also served for two terms as the U.S. representative to the International Basketball Federation (FIBA). She is currently a member of the Board of Directors of Women Leaders in College Sports and the Board of Directors of the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame.  

Andre Barrett was born in the Bronx and attended, like many other famous basketball players, Rice High School. After playing basketball at Seton Hall University he signed with the NBA as a free agent for the New York Knicks. Barrett has played for many U.S teams including Florida Flame, the Chicago Bulls and Orlando Magic just to name a few; as well as international teams from Barcelona, Argentina and Venezuela. In 2003 he represented USA Basketball at the Pan American Games. Barrett career continues today as NBA’s Youth Basketball Development Program Manager.

Len Elmore is a sportscaster, lawyer, educator and retired 10-year veteran of the NBA. In his 32nd season as a television basketball analyst, he has been a leading voice in college hoops, broadcasting NCAA men’s basketball and NBA games for ESPN, Fox Sports, and CBS. His NBA playing career included stints with the Indiana Pacers, Kansas City Kings (now Sacramento Kings), Milwaukee Bucks, New Jersey Nets, and New York Knicks. In 1987, Elmore received a J.D. from Harvard Law School, where he remains the first and only NBA player to do so. He went on to serve as an assistant district attorney in Brooklyn and founded the sports management company Precept Sports & Entertainment in 1992. He was inducted into the New York City Basketball Hall of Fame and was named one of the Atlantic Coast Conference’s 50 Greatest Players in 2001 and 2002, respectively.

Joel Fisher is the Executive Vice President of Marquee Events and Operations at The Madison Square Garden Company. He serves as lead executive for significant initiatives and oversees two of The Garden’s most enduring franchises – college basketball and boxing. Fisher is also responsible for other live sporting events outside of MSG’s teams such as bull riding, wrestling, college hockey, tennis, and eSports. He has led the Company’s efforts to bring landmark events to MSG’s venues, including most recently in 2018, the 60th Annual Grammy Awards and the Big Ten Tournament, and brought the NCAA Basketball East Regional Finals back to The Garden in 2014 for the first time in 50 years. Fisher serves on the board of the Garden of Dreams Foundation, the Executive Committee Board for NYC & Company, and the 34th Street Partnership.

Ed Pinckney is a basketball player, born and raised in the Bronx in New York City. As a college basketball player, he was a part of the Villanova Wildcats’ 1981 lauded recruiting class. He was voted Most Outstanding Player of the 1985 NCAA tournament after leading the Wildcats to an upset victory over the Georgetown Hoyas. In 1985, he was drafted into the NBA to the Phoenix Suns, and would go on to play a 12-year career with the Sacramento Kings, Boston Celtics, Milwaukee Bucks, Toronto Raptors, Philadelphia 76ers, and Miami Heat. Upon retiring, Pinckney served a variety of coaching positions including as assistant coach for the Villanova Wildcats from 2003-2007. He currently serves as assistant coach for the Minnesota Timberwolves.

Dave Popkin (moderator) is a veteran sportscaster based in the New York Metro Area. He is in his 17th season as a 
commentator with the Seton Hall Basketball radio network (AM 970, SiriusXM) and can be seen on CBS Sports Network during basketball season serving as the Voice of the Northeast Conference (20th year) and on CBSSports.com as the Voice of the CIT (7th year). Popkin also currently handles baseball and special assignments for the BIG EAST Conference.  Popkin called eight different sports for both CN8 and MSG Varsity. The University of Miami graduate has 19 years of minor league baseball play-by-play experience, including presently for the Buffalo Bisons - Toronto AAA (7th year). He was honored with the O. Lawrence Keefe Award for lifetime media contributions to the Seton Hall basketball program.

$30 Adults, $25 for Seniors, Students, and Educators (with ID)
$20 for Museum Members

Members: To receive your discount, click on the "Buy Tickets" button above, then sign in to your account on the ticketing page.

Groups of 10 or more get discounts; contact us at programs@mcny.org or 917.492.3395.

Accessibility: Assistive listening devices are available and our auditorium wheelchair lift can accommodate manual and motorized wheelchairs (max. capacity 500 lbs). Please contact the Museum at 917.492.3333 or info@mcny.org with any questions.

Supporters and Partners

City/Game is made possible in part by ESPN, the NBA, the WNBA, Clara Wu Tsai and Joe Tsai of the Brooklyn Nets and New York Liberty, Elizabeth R. Miller and James G. Dinan, the National Basketball Players Association Foundation, Con Edison, the Lily Auchincloss Foundation, and An Anonymous Family Foundation. Additional support provided by Crystal McCrary and Raymond J. McGuire, Estee Tobaly and Henry Swieca, Marc Lasry, Nathan Romano, Mitchell S. Steir/Savills, Heather and William Vrattos, the Honorable Diana Ayala - New York City Council District 8, Andrea London, and other generous donors.

Education programs featuring City/Game are made possible by the Gray Foundation.

This program is co-presented with BIG EAST Conference

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