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When the CIAA first announced that it was moving to Charlotte, I wasn’t sure how it would do here. Charlotte hasn’t always had the best history of dealing with African Americans, but we’ve done okay. Actually we’ve done better than okay! We’re the best thing to happen to the CIAA and the CIAA is the best thing to happen to Charlotte.

The annual basketball tournament has grown since it moved to Charlotte in 2006. The first year, the tournament drew nearly 125,000 fans and pumped $15 million into the Charlotte economy. Last year’s tournament set an attendance record by drawing 190,000 people and contributing more than $44 million to the economy.

That’s crazy. The city and the people of Charlotte have embraced the tournament.

This year, the tournament celebrates its 100th Anniversary. The tournament is going to be even bigger and better than ever. A slew of celebrities ranging from R. Kelly to Chris Williams to Yolanda Adams are scheduled to attend. There’s also a new fashion show, an even better Toyota Fan Experience, a mobile app (powered by Radio One) and some events are already sold out.

The tournament has events for everyone from the McDonald’s Step Show to the free McDonald’s Super Saturday to a slew of parties. The tournament is a giant family reunion for people who actually attended CIAA schools. It’s a reunion for new friends. Six years of partying, praying and playing can easily forge new relationships. And relationships are really what the CIAA is all about.

So, as we kick off the centennial celebration week let’s make it an even bigger and better year. Happy Birthday CIAA from your friends at My92.7.

Highlights from last year:

Meet the Fly Ty’s Party Patrol.

Photos from the pre-party patrol partying on Thursday night with Bell Biv Devoe.

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