Sports. Charlotte. The two words go together like country and Nashville. Motown and Detroit. Hip-hop and the South Bronx. So when Charlotte nabbed the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association — or, as we lovingly know it, the CIAA — basketball tournament from Raleigh in 2006, the roar of applause was deafening. And that was just from the Uptown boosters.
- Courtesy of CIAA (2006)
It was a natural fit. The year before, Charlotte became the No. 3 hotspot destination for African Americans moving to the South, lagging behind only Atlanta and Dallas. The CIAA is the biggest party for African American college students and alumni in the country.
In CL's first CIAA cover package, Branna Calloway described the festivities thusly: "People from every economic and social class are present and looking fierce. Designer labels abound in a sea of fashion dos and don'ts, from understated elegance to in-your-face ghetto fabulous."
Meanwhile, the Uptown boosters were beside themselves, gleefully offering each other self-congratulatory high-fives for luring in what had been a $12-million-a-year cash cow for the state's capital.
"Snatching the week-long basketball tournament away from Raleigh, where it has been held for six years, was a coup of the highest magnitude," wrote Tara Servatius, "and its implications for what else Charlotte can attract are nearly limitless."
A pretty prescient statement. After all, no one knew then that this coup would be part of a continuum leading up to the 2012 Democratic National Convention.