Chris Paul Partners with Basketball Hall of Fame to Create 4-Team HBCU Tournament

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured Columnist IVJuly 28, 2021

Phoenix Suns' Chris Paul during the second half of Game 4 of basketball's NBA Finals against the Milwaukee Bucks Wednesday, July 14, 2021, in Milwaukee. (AP Photo/Aaron Gash)
AP Photo/Aaron Gash

Phoenix Suns star Chris Paul is collaborating with the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame to stage the Chris Paul HBCU Tip-Off at Mohegan Sun Arena in November.

The event will showcase four historically black colleges and universities: Morehouse College, Virginia Union University, West Virginia State University, and Winston-Salem State University.

Basketball HOF @Hoophall

Basketball Hall of Fame to Host Newly Launched Chris Paul HBCU Tip-Off at Mohegan Sun on November 22 and 23. Two-Day Event to feature Morehouse, Virginia Union, West Virginia State, Winston-Salem State. <a href="https://t.co/IALfpEGhmp">pic.twitter.com/IALfpEGhmp</a>

"I appreciate the collaboration of the Basketball Hall of Fame and Mohegan Sun in hosting this inaugural event," Paul said of the event. "With several family members and friends who have attended HBCUs, I know first-hand how important they are to our community and country’s future. I'm excited to offer an elevated experience to the players and fans this November."

Paul, who is currently enrolled at Winston-Salem State and looking to earn a degree in communications, has made a commitment to elevating HBCUs on and off the court.

In September 2019, he partnered with a professor from the Harvard Business School to provide classes on entertainment, sports and media at North Carolina A&T. He was also an executive producer on an ESPN+ series that profiled North Carolina Central's men's basketball team.

Especially in the wake of nationwide protests against systemic racism and racial inequality last summer, many have sought ways to address the prolonged decline of HBCU athletics and help the institutions themselves.

The Atlantic's Jemele Hill made the case in October 2019 for top high school athletes to attend HBCUs rather than the traditional powers in their respective sports. 

Makur Maker was a 5-star center and the No. 18 player in 247Sports' composite rankings for 2020 prior to selecting Howard. He said after making his commitment he hoped others would "join me on this journey."

Willis Reed, Ben Wallace, Earl Monroe, Charles Oakley and Avery Johnson are among the HBCU alums who went on to have successful careers in the NBA. 

The NBA and National Basketball Players Association helped raise $3 million by drawing attention toward historically Black colleges and universities during the 2021 All-Star Weekend.