NBA pays homage to HBCUs in All-Star weekend

Published March 5, 2021, 8:47 PM

by Carlo Anolin

Photos from NBA

The All-Star weekend will be full of tribute to the Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) as the NBA pays homage to its vital role in America’s rich history.

The NBA gives the spotlight to HBCU students and alumni by providing access to the virtual fan experience and highlighting their artworks and creations through exhibits.

Per the Higher Education Act of 1965, HBCUs are “any historically black college or university that was established prior to 1964, whose principal mission was, and is, the education of black Americans, and that is accredited by a nationally recognized accrediting agency or association determined by the Secretary [of Education].”

The State Farm Arena in Atlanta features the colorful life of HBCU students as the court design was created in collaboration with the alumni themselves from various schools.

Virtually, 300 frontline workers and HBCU students may enjoy the All-Star Game and skills competition which will take place on the same night for the first time on Sunday, March 7 (Monday, March 8, Manila time).

Around 1,500 frontliners, community workers, HBCU alumni, students and faculty will be grouped by two-to-four people from the same household, per protocols, for the live viewing.

Three HBCU alumni set to officiate the All-Star game namely Norfold graduate Tom Washington, Southern University product Courtney Kirkland, and Clark Atlanta University graduate Tony Brown.

Meanwhile, artworks from seven artists currently attending HBCUs such as Howard University, Albany State University and Florida A&M University, will be displayed in-arena, at the players’ hotel and broadcast and social media platforms of the league. Five of them were invited as online audience while the remaining two will watch the games live.

NBA players will be using Beats custom headphones on their on-court interviews, designed by no less than HBCU product Elijah Rutland, a participant in the “Beats Black Creator” program and a student at Florida A&M University.

Jersey patches, merchandise and the performances were also all in line with the HBCU tribute.

The NBA family will also provide more than $3 million in support to the HBCU community through the Thurgood Marshall College Fund (TMCF), UNCF (United Negro College Fund), National Association for Equal Opportunity (NAFEO) and Direct Relief’s Fund for Health Equity.

This year, Team LeBron and Team Durant will either represent TMCF, comprised of 47 publicly-supported HBCUs, or UNCF, made up of 37 member colleges, for their respective beneficiary.

LeBron James chose Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo to lead his line-up while rival captain Kevin Durant, who will supervise as non-playing captain, selected Nets teammate Kyrie Irving as his top pick.