NEW YORK – The NBA today announced that the Virginia Union University Panthers (VUU) and Winston-Salem State University Rams (WSSU) men’s basketball programs have been selected to compete in the 2024 NBA HBCU Classic presented by AT&T. The Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association (CIAA) matchup will take place on Saturday, Feb. 17 at Gainbridge Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, Indiana as part of NBA All-Star 2024. The third NBA HBCU Classic will be simulcast on TNT, ESPN2 and NBA TV.
“We’re excited to bring these two storied programs and conference rivals together to compete in our third HBCU Classic as part of NBA All-Star 2024,” said NBA Deputy Commissioner and Chief Operating Officer Mark Tatum. “The level of competition during the previous two Classic games set a high standard and showcased the tremendous pride of the HBCU community. We look forward to celebrating Virginia Union University and Winston-Salem State University on one of the NBA’s marquee stages.”
The teams were selected in collaboration with the CIAA. The 2024 NBA HBCU Classic presented by AT&T continues the league’s ongoing, year-round commitment to advancing educational, career and economic opportunities in partnership with HBCU institutions as well as increasing support and awareness for HBCU athletics.
“We are thrilled the CIAA will be represented during this year’s NBA All-Star weekend,” said CIAA Commissioner Jacqie McWilliams Parker. “This is an amazing opportunity to give expanded exposure for our DII student-athletes, our member institutions and the HBCU Community. We look forward to bringing the talent, culture, and excellence of the CIAA to the grandest stage of the game.”
“We are very excited about the invitation to participate in the 2024 NBA HBCU Classic. Virginia Union University and Winston-Salem State University boast strong winning traditions and have produced multiple NBA players and Hall of Famers,” said Virginia Union University Vice President for intercollegiate athletics Joseph Taylor. “This opportunity given by the NBA truly strengthens both the school’s brand and also highlights our HBCU culture. Virginia Union Athletics thanks the NBA for this opportunity to highlight and showcase our student-athletes and performers.”
“Thank you to the CIAA and the NBA for selecting the WSSU Men’s Basketball team under the leadership of Cleo Hill Jr. to represent the Southern Division of the CIAA in this prestigious event,” said Winston-Salem State University Athletic Director Etienne Thomas. “This opportunity provides visibility for our student-athletes to showcase their athletic ability on the biggest stage available to professional athletes, which many of them aspire to be in the future, while also celebrating who they are as Division II student-athletes achieving academic and championship success, as we prepare them to graduate as champions and depart WSSU to serve their communities. We have a legacy and tradition of excellence and championships at WSSU with a program that includes the Legendary CE “Big House” Gaines, Earl “The Pearl” Monroe, Cleo Hill Sr, and many others who laid the Championship foundation for our current student-athletes to follow. We look forward to painting the City Red with our Championship team, world-renowned Powerhouse Cheerleaders, and the #1 ESPN College band-the Red Sea of Sound (RSOS).”
Earlier this year, during NBA All-Star 2023 in Utah, HBCU programming included the HBCU Event Intern Program, where 13 students served as paid interns across different NBA disciplines to gain experience working in sports and learn from NBA staff. The students also participated in several other career development events and opportunities. Additionally, over the summer, 74 students participated in the NBA HBCU Fellowship program, which provides career development opportunities in the business of basketball for undergraduate and graduate students from HBCUs. The NBA family annually supports HBCUs through additional scholarships, programs, business case competitions, mentorship, networking and more through support of the Thurgood Marshall College Fund (TMCF), United Negro College Fund (UNCF) and academic institutions. The Feb. 17 match-up between Virginia Union and Winston-Salem State will feature an afternoon of competitive on-court action and band performances celebrating HBCU pride. Additional programming to support HBCUs at All-Star 2024 will be announced at a later date.