McMain State Champs honored with celebration

McMain State Champs honored with celebration
Posted on 03/26/2021

The Eleanor McMain Boys Basketball Team was honored with a celebration Friday, March 26, marking their first-time victory as LHSAA District 4 State Champions. 

The District 11-4A rivals the McMain Mustangs and the George Washington Carver's Rams battled for the Class 4A state championship at Burton Coliseum on Saturday, March 14. It went down to the wire before the second-seeded Mustangs edged the top-seeded Rams 49-48.

“A lot of individuals don’t understand the time, the love, and the sacrifice needed to build a program. Four years ago, McMain had a record of 1 in 18. Now they are state champions. They, like us, were interested in accomplishing something stronger together. We can’t thank you enough for the commitment the students and their families made,” said Jamar McKneely, InspireNOLA CEO. “They aren’t just part of the excellent basketball team but also part of an excellent school.”

Head of School John Green said he was proud of the team, both on and off the court.

“When you are a team, you all stand together. No one higher, no one lower. It took a whole lot of people to get this done,” Green said, before surprising the team with a special gift. “Young fellows, you earned something. Take your jersey. You keep it! We thank you, we appreciate you, and let’s get it done again!”

Dr. Henderson Lewis, NOLA Public Schools Superintendent, said today is a very historical day here in the city of New Orleans.

“Today, we are celebrating 180 years of public education in our school system. As I stand here congratulating you for winning the state championship, know you are making history and you will be recorded in history. The work you’ve done on and off the court will be celebrated,” he said. “I love that you all won the championship, but more importantly that each and every one of you are scholars.” 

Councilman Jay H. Banks, a 1997 McMain Alumnus, said it was an honor to be back home. 

“This has been a long time coming. We had basketball when I was here, but our team was not the best. We used to get beat pretty bad and people would make fun of us,” he said. “It took a long time to get here to the championship, and I am honored to be here today to celebrate that.”

Banks presented a proclamation to the school administration and one to each of the team members, saying, “Each of these young men are being commended for phenomenal achievement and work ethic.” 

Dr. Kyshun Webster, President of the McMain Alumni Association, surprised the team by announcing a $7,500 donation to help make sure the team gets their championship rings.

“We are extremely proud of the team and their big win. When we heard of the win, social media exploded. Alumni from all over the country sent their congratulations,” he said.  

Darren Riley, McMain Athletics Director, expressed his sincere thanks to parents, staff, friends and family for their support.

“You helped us make this season not only special but a historic moment,” he said.

Mousa Hamdan, CEO of Jetlife Recordings and Jetlife Athletics, said he was sold on McMain from their first sit-down.

“They told us we were going to win this thing. We saw the kids working, and we wanted to get involved,” he said. “People were always counting McMain out as a school that would win a championship. With sacrifice, determination, and dedication, you see where they are now, and we are proud of them. We are here to support every year from now on.”

Head Boys Basketball Coach Steven Kelly said this “beautiful occasion” was going to make him teary eyed.

“You young men, thank you,” he said. “Though people doubted us at the beginning of the season, one thing no one can ever take away from us is we made history. We made history for yourself, for your school, and for this city. I love you all.”