NBA to Host HBCU Classic Game at All-Star Weekend, Launches Fellowship Program

Tyler Conway@jtylerconwayFeatured ColumnistOctober 21, 2021

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver speaks during a ring ceremony before an NBA basketball game between the Milwaukee Bucks and the Brooklyn Nets, Tuesday, Oct. 19, 2021, in Milwaukee. (AP Photo/Morry Gash)
Morry Gash/Associated Press

The Howard and Morgan State men's basketball teams will play in the inaugural NBA All-Star HBCU Classic during the 2022 All-Star Weekend in Cleveland, the NBA announced Thursday.

The HBCU Classic, which is set for Feb. 19, is part of an extended commitment to historically Black colleges and universities by the NBA. Along with putting HBCU in the national spotlight, the league is launching a new fellowship program for career development through the NBA Foundation.

The program launches next year and will have students work in jobs with the NBA office, WNBA and NBA teams while being matched with a mentor.

"The NBA family recognizes the storied and prominent role that HBCUs have played in our society for decades," NBA Deputy Commissioner Mark Tatum said in a statement. "We also recognize that within our commitments to increase Black representation across the league and grow the game, we can create educational, athletic and career opportunities through engagement with these institutions."

The NBA is set to contribute $1 million to the Thurgood Marshall College Fund, United Negro College Fund and academic institutions to assist in aiding students. The press release stated that "HBCUs—which produce 20 percent of the country's Black college graduates but only account for 3 percent of all colleges in the United States—have historically been under-resourced, averaging one-eighth the size of endowments of historically white colleges and universities."

"Howard University is incredibly proud to take part in the HBCU All-Star Classic during this year's NBA All-Star," said Kery Davis, the Washington, D.C., school's director of intercollegiate athletics, said in a statement. "The NBA and HBCUs are natural partners because of our rich legacy elevating under-represented communities and our shared passion for cultivating opportunities for people of color. We appreciate the NBA's commitment to supporting our institutions, and we are excited to showcase the on- and off-the-court talent and excellence that has come to define student-athletes from the MEAC and HBCUs." 

The 2022 NBA All-Star Weekend is set to take place Feb. 18-20 in Cleveland.