April 10, 2018 | Updated: January 29, 2019

Northeast Lakeview College (NLC) hosted their 2nd Annual Unified Basketball Game on March 27th, 2018. The participating athletes were members of the Northeast Lakeview College men’s basketball team that were paired with SOTX athletes from the San Antonio Fire and the Best Friends delegations. NLC started to take part in the Spread the Word to End the Word campaign in 2017 and they wanted to have an exciting culminating event that would showcase the power of inclusion. That is when the idea to host a Unified Basketball game with SOTX athletes was made possible. This year NLC decided to make the Unified Game a recurring annual event as an effort to get the surrounding community to buy into the campaign for years to come.

The basketball game started with high energy and a lot of enthusiasm from SOTX athletes and the unified partners. The gym was filled with the highest attendance the college campus has ever had for a basketball game. Spectators were enjoying the fast-paced rhythm of the game and the athletes were having a great time sharing the court with a collegiate basketball team. The first half of the game ended with a buzzer beater shot from the Best Friends Unified team, so the crowd cheered loudly and were anxious for the second half to start.

During the halftime show, while the audience was entertained by local musicians, players took a pledge to Spread the Word to End the Word.  Spread the Word to End the Word is a movement which looks to end the derogatory use of the R-Word.  It looks to spread awareness of the hurtful impact this word can cause and to promote the acceptance of people with intellectual disabilities.  Players as well as members of the audience signed the pledge to help spread awareness of this issue. 

Once the players stepped back on the court the intensity picked up where it left off. The teams were exchanging buckets and the score remained close. The San Antonio Fire Unified Team was scoring with the fast break and were dominant on the post, while the Best Friends Unified Team was hitting three pointers back to back to keep up. After a grueling and adrenaline filled game the ultimate winners were Best Friends with a score of 54-48.  All in all, the game concluded with a victory for our community-as players from all teams had the opportunity to come together and promote an atmosphere of inclusion and acceptance for all. Members of the surrounding community experienced the joy and happiness that inclusion can bring to everyone involved, which was the objective of this Unified Game.

SOTX and Northeast Lakeview College hope to continue this partnership for years to come!

Most Recent Articles

Healthy LEAP Program Making Health Education Accessible For All Students

Healthy LEAP (Lifestyle Education and Practice) is a series of health, nutrition, fitness, safety and injury prevention lessons and practical applications created specifically for youth and adults with and without intellectual disabilities.

...Read more

State Flag Football 2019 Photos

Special thanks to Kit Flynn for the photography at this event!

...Read more

Special Olympics Unified Champion Schools® Expected to Expand Rapidly in 2020

The Special Olympics Unified Champion Schools program is expanding across the state of Texas in 2020!

...Read more

Hendrickson High School Makes 2019 Top 5 ESPN Honor Roll

ESPN recently reviewed the top 5 exemplary schools as part of the Special Olympics UNIFIED CHAMPION SCHOOLS® National Recognition Program.

...Read more