NBA extends support of Historically Black Colleges and Universities to advance educational, career and economic opportunities across all 107 HBCUs

NEW YORK– The NBA today announced an extension of its ongoing commitment to Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) with new programs designed to create greater opportunity for students and alumni, encourage economic advancement and further celebrate their rich traditions.  As part of this partnership, the NBA will develop new programs and events focused on the HBCU community – specifically around professional development, career advancement and increased support and awareness for HBCU athletics and institutions.

The NBA is committed to supporting the growth of the next generation of leaders from the Black community.  HBCUs – which produce 20 percent of the country’s Black college graduates but only account for three 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.  The NBA’s programming will advance educational, career and economic opportunities in collaboration with HBCU networks, and will focus on three areas:

 New Fellowship Program for Career Development:

  • Launching in 2022, the NBA and its teams will offer a new paid fellowship program for undergraduate and graduate students.  The program, which will be led by the NBA Foundation, will offer HBCU students the opportunity to gain real-life insights and professional experience around the business and operations of basketball.  The students will work in positions at the league office and NBA and WNBA teams, and be matched with a league or team employee mentor as part of their experience.  Applications for the program will open on in the coming months.

 NBA HBCU Classic:

  • Building off the success of NBA All-Star 2021, the NBA and the National Basketball Players Association (NBPA) will once again highlight the HBCU community during NBA All-Star 2022 in Cleveland.
  • The celebrations will be highlighted by a Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) matchup between Howard University and Morgan State University men’s basketball teams.  The game will be played at the Wolstein Center in Cleveland on February 19, 2022 and will be broadcast live.
  • During NBA All-Star, more than $1 million will be contributed in support to the HBCU community through the Thurgood Marshall College Fund (TMCF), UNCF (United Negro College Fund) and academic institutions.  Additionally, HBCUs will be showcased through unique content, storytelling and special performances.

 Additional Programming:

  • The NBA, G League and Basketball Africa League will leverage their pre-Draft combines and showcase events for HBCU players, coaches and athletic trainers.  These engagements will increase exposure and opportunities to pursue professional basketball careers.
  • The league will expand the NBA’s targeted referee development strategy to leverage existing programs and focus on identification, training and educational opportunities for HBCU students and alumni in the officiating pipeline.
  • The NBA 2K League will host events with HBCU networks to introduce students to careers in gaming and esports, creating pathways for students to pursue careers in the growing industry.
  • HBCU alumni and Black entrepreneurs will partner with the league as part of the NBA’s commitment to onboarding more minority-owned businesses as league licensees.
  • The NBA will air special alternate game telecasts this season featuring interactive enhancements on League Pass and will work with HBCU schools to provide special experiences around those select games.

These new efforts will bolster the league’s support of HBCUs and their students through additional scholarship programs, business case competitions, mentorship, networking and internship opportunities with partners, teams, the NBA Foundation and other members of the NBA family.  Former NBA Commissioner David Stern served as a founding member of the TMCF Board of Directors for more than 30 years.

Executive Quotes

NBA Deputy Commissioner and Chief Operating Officer, Mark Tatum: “The NBA family recognizes the storied and prominent role that HBCUs have played in our society for decades.  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.  Through continued collaboration with partners like TMCF and UNCF, our teams and members of the HBCU community, we look forward to expanding support of students and alumni in meaningful ways.”

 Howard University Director of Intercollegiate Athletics, Kery Davis: “Howard University is incredibly proud to take part in the HBCU Classic during this year’s NBA All-Star.  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.”

 Morgan State University Vice President and Director of Intercollegiate Athletics, Dr. Ed Scott: “As an association, the NBA should be commended for the foresight and willingness to address important issues surrounding diversity, equity and inclusion.  The creation of the NBA HBCU Classic is a clear demonstration of the NBA’s commitment to promoting HBCUs and showcasing the talented young men and women on our campuses.”

 Thurgood Marshall College Fund President and CEO, Dr. Harry L. Williams: “We are pleased to continue our relationship with the NBA to build upon our commitment to our students, providing them with opportunities for learning, networking and collaborations.  We both recognize there is a need for more minority professionals in the industry, and HBCUs have one of the strongest recruiting bases for talent.  I appreciate the NBA creating space for our students while identifying meaningful opportunities that bring value to both the NBA and TMCF.”

 UNCF CEO, Dr. Michael Lomax: “The NBA’s focus on HBCUs and inclusion of the Black community is outstanding.  We particularly appreciate the spotlight the league is providing to our member-institutions.  All HBCUs deserve this kind of attention, as they have been underserved and under-recognized for decades.  Thanks to support from the NBA, we hope many more doors of opportunity will open for the students HBCUs work so diligently to educate and graduate.”