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Outrigger Resorts Rainbow Classic Celebrates 50th Anniversary The storied college basketball tournament will tip off its 50th year of play Nov. 14, 15 and 17


WAIKIKI, HONOLULU, HAWAII – It’s a special season for college basketball fans in Hawaii as the Outrigger Resorts Rainbow Classic celebrates 50 years of stellar play, with on-court action set for Nov. 14, 15, and 17. The University of Hawaii (UH) men’s basketball team will tip off the season against California’s CSU Bakersfield in a round-robin tournament, which also includes Arkansas-Pine Bluff and North Carolina’s High Point University.

Fans can also score this season with special room and game ticket packages at several Outrigger properties, valid November 13 to 18. Find out more at

“The Outrigger Resorts Rainbow Classic is a beloved tradition in the community, and we’re thrilled to celebrate 50 years of incredible college basketball with this year’s tournament,” said David Carey, president and CEO at Outrigger Enterprises Group. “While only one team will take home the trophy, everyone in Hawaii wins when the Outrigger Resorts Rainbow Classic comes to town.”

Michael Jordan and his infamous dunk style at the Rainbow Classic in 1982
Michael Jordan and his infamous dunk style at the Rainbow Classic in 1982

Established in 1964 by Red Rocha and Chuck Leahey, the Outrigger Resorts Rainbow Classic has seen nail-biting on-court action and played host to a number of athletes who went on to become some of the biggest names in the game. Over the last 50 years, players have included Michael Jordan, Pete Maravich, Elvin Hayes, and Isiah Thomas, to name a few, as well as some of the game’s most illustrious coaches, including Dean Smith (North Carolina), Bob Knight (Indiana), Mike Krzyzewski (Duke), Larry Brown and Roy Williams (Kansas).

Outrigger Resorts Rainbow Classic highlights include the 1970 tournament when UH’s “Fabulous Five” made its mark and the Bows won its own tournament for the first time as Jerome Freeman captured Most Outstanding Player (MOP) honors. The following year, UH took home the trophy once again with Bob Nash winning MOP honors after setting two tournament records – most rebounds in a game (30 against Arizona State University) and most rebounds in the tournament (52). In 1990, UH captured the Classic crown once again over then-number 11 Pittsburgh, and in 1997, UH upset then-number two Kansas before a sellout crowd, marking the biggest upset in UH basketball history. To date, UH has won the Rainbow Classic title 13 times.

“We are looking forward to celebrating 50 years of the Classic alongside our trusted sponsor Outrigger Resorts, whose commitment to our community and student athletes is very much appreciated,” said Ben Jay, UH athletics director.

Anniversary T-shirtUniversity of Hawaii students and alumni also had the chance to get in on the 50th anniversary action with the Outrigger Resorts Rainbow Classic t-shirt contest. In addition to having their design grace the front of the limited-edition Outrigger Resorts 50th Anniversary Rainbow Classic promo t-shirt, the winning designer also received a two-night stay at the Outrigger Reef Waikiki Beach Resort. Congratulations to alumni Leigh Ann Eaton for her winning design.

The anniversary t-shirts will be a hot item at this year’s tournament, as they will not be for sale. The only way to secure a limited-edition t-shirt at the tournament will be if you are an on-court contestant for one of Outrigger’s half-time games played during each of the UH games, or if you catch a t-shirt during the Outrigger t-shirt toss at UH tournament games. T-shirts will also be offered as prizes during a week-long “RT & Win” Twitter contest Nov. 10-14 leading up to the tournament. Follow @OutriggerResort for details starting Nov. 3.

And speaking of on-court games, Outrigger will once again be offering tournament attendees an opportunity to win cash just in time for the holidays with Outrigger’s popular “Shoot for Loot” contest where two contestants compete for a chance to win up to $1,000 each. Fan’s will also have chances to win Outrigger overnight stays each night with the “Outrigger Paddle Cam” promotion; and each evening, 1,000 “rollabanners” will be handed out to fans as they enter the Stan Sheriff Arena (while supplies last).

Outrigger Resorts has been a staunch supporter of UH Athletics for over two decades and today is a Diamond Corporate Sponsor. In total, the company serves as title sponsor of six University of Hawaii tournaments as well as Warrior Football. The titled tournaments include the Outrigger Resorts Rainbow Classic; Rainbow Wahine Outrigger Resorts Volleyball Challenge; Outrigger Resorts Soccer Classic (Women’s soccer); OHANA Hotels and Resorts No Ka Oi (Women’s soccer); Outrigger Resorts Volleyball Invitational (Men’s volleyball); and the Outrigger Resorts Baseball Season-Opening Series.

For more information on Outrigger Resorts’ support of UH Athletics and other sporting activities, log on at For a full schedule of University of Hawaii games, visit