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Common sits down with student athletes participating in Chicago Elite Classic

Common was back in Chicago Saturday morning to speak with the young men and women participating in the Chicago Elite Classic.

“I really applaud this classic for what they’re doing,” said the rapper and actor. “This is a healthy thing for them, it’s a great thing for them to just open their minds up.”

In its seventh year, the classic has grown to become more than just another top high school basketball event. Founded by Whitney Young boys basketball head coach Tyrone Slaughter and Simeon boys basketball head coach Robert Smith, the Chicago Elite Classic extends invitations to top programs across the country to participate in the two-day basketball event. Beyond the two days of games the Chicago Elite Classic provides opportunities off the court that helps its participants grow in the game of life.

“We’ve added in some other parts to our program,” Slaughter said. “Some educational components that help our young people become much more well-rounded student athletes.”

Video by Annie Costabile

The other components Slaughter is talking about is the champions in life workshop that features professionals who educate the student athletes on everything from lessons on social media to financial literacy; it culminates with the champions in life breakfast.

CBS’s Ryan Baker moderated the discussion with Common where the two discussed Chicago basketball stars like Derrick Rose and the late Ben Wilson, the importance of activism in today’s society and using education to propel their lives outside of sports.

“The Chicago Elite Classic is about more than just playing basketball,” Common said. “We’re enjoying that, we’re going to enjoy the games. But it’s also for them to get information and lessons and conversation about things that are bigger than basketball, things that will help them move forward in life.”