The NBA on Thursday announced a showcase game between two Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) set to take place during the league’s All-Star Weekend in 2022.
Howard University and Morgan State University will square off in the league’s inaugural “HBCU Classic” on Feb.19 at Cleveland State University’s Wolstein Center, the league announced on Thursday.
The Mid-Eastern Atlantic Conference (MEAC) rivals upcoming contest is expected to be nationally televised on multiple networks between the league’s All-Star Game practice session and the All-Star Saturday night slate which includes the Skills Challenge, the Three-Point Contest and the Slam Dunk Contest, according to The Washington Post.
The NBA is also launching a new fellowship program for undergraduate and graduate students at HBCU in 2022, offering students an opportunity to gain real-life insights and professional experience from the business and operations of basketball.
Today, the NBA will announce the first-ever 'HBCU Classic' as part of All-Star Weekend— Front Office Sports (@FOS) October 21, 2021
Howard University will play Morgan State in Cleveland on Feb. 19th, celebrating the NBA's 75th anniversary.
During NBA All-Star 2022, more than $1 million will be contributed to HBCUs. pic.twitter.com/Ok6PzxjmLU
“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,” the league’s deputy commissioner Mark Tatum said in a statement.
“As an association, the NBA should be commended for the foresight and willingness to address important issues surrounding diversity, equity and inclusion," Morgan State’s Vice President and Director of Intercollegiate Athletics Dr. Ed Scott said in a statement. "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."
This comes as other major professional sports leagues are establishing new initiatives to support HBCUs.
The NFL and Senior Bowl earlier this year announced plans to host a scouting combine for top collegiate prospects from HBCUs in January 2022.
The NBA is also planning to contribute more than $1 million through the Thurgood Marshall College Fund (TMCF), the United Negro College Fund (UNCF), and academic institutions during All-Star Weekend, the league noted.