NBA to Partner With HBCUs to Push Education, Career, Econ Opportunities

In Summary

The NBA and the NBA Foundation to will launch a new annual fellowship program for HBCU students. 

The NBA has announced an extension of its ongoing commitment to historically Black colleges and universities with new programs designed to create greater opportunities 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 centered around professional development, career advancement and increased support and awareness for HBCU athletics and institutions, according to the release. 

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The NBA has exuded a strong commitment to supporting the growth of the next generation of leaders from the Black community.  

HBCUs produce 20% of the country’s Black college graduates. However, they only account for 3% of all colleges in the United States, 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: 

  • The NBA and its teams will offer a new paid fellowship program for undergraduate and graduate students in 2022. The NBA Foundation led program 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. 

“The NBA family recognizes the storied and prominent role that HBCUs have played in our society for decades,” wrote NBA Deputy Commissioner and Chief Operating Officer Mark Tatum in the release. “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.” 

NBA HBCU Classic: 

  • The NBA and the National Basketball Players Association (NBPA) will 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’s men’s basketball teams. The game will be played at the Wolstein Center in Cleveland on February 19, 2022, and will broadcast live. 
  • During NBA All-Star week, 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. 

“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,” wrote Thurgood Marshall College Fund President and CEO Dr. Harry L. Williams. “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.” 

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. 

“The NBA’s focus on HBCUs and inclusion of the Black community is outstanding,” wrote UNCF CEO Dr. Michael Lomax. “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.” 

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