The NBA has announced the first-ever NBA HBCU Classic. The game will be a part of the NBA All-Star 2022 Weekend
According to a press release obtained by EBONY, the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) matchup will feature the Howard University Bisons taking on the Morgan State University Bears men’s basketball teams at the Wolstein Center in Cleveland, Ohio. As part of the NBA’s and AT&T’s commitments to support HBCUs, they each will "donate $100,000 to each school’s athletic department, totaling $200,000, to support facility upgrades, student-athlete academic resources, and health and wellness services.”
Stephanie Ready (Coppin State University alumna) will host the game along with analysts, Hall of Famer Isiah Thomas (NBA 75th Anniversary Team member), and host of ESPN’s First Take and EBONY 2021 Power 100 awardee Stephen A. Smith (Winston-Salem State alumnus). Brian Custer (Hampton University alumnus) will serve as play-by-play announcer alongside analyst Brendan Haywood with Taylor Rooks handling sideline reporting duties.
SiriusXM will also broadcast the game on NBA Radio with play-by-play announcer Jason Jackson and analyst Rick Mahorn (Hampton University alumnus) covering the game.
Actress and singer Keke Palmer is set to perform the national anthem as well as the Black anthem “Lift Every Voice and Sing” for the event and will be accompanied by the Howard University Showtime Marching Band. NBA All-Stars, members of the 75th Anniversary team, and celebrities are all slated to attend “to experience the HBCU celebration and support the student-athletes and institutions.”
“I am incredibly grateful to Turner Sports and ESPN, as well as to AT&T and the NBA, for their efforts to make this game happen and for their support of the Howard and Morgan State athletic programs,” said Howard University Director of Athletics Kery Davis. “The historic partnership that has given rise to the NBA HBCU Classic is helping to elevate HBCUs at a critical time for our country. HBCUs and the NBA have a shared legacy of using their platforms to serve their communities and amplify the voices of marginalized people. We appreciate the opportunity to shine a spotlight on HBCUs this year and for our students to share a stage with some of the world’s most talented athletes during NBA All-Star weekend.”
"The NBA HBCU Classic during the celebration of Black History Month highlights the important mission of Historically Black Colleges and Universities and the critical role they play in our country,” added Erlease Wagner, Morgan State Interim Athletic Director. “We commend the NBA for their continued commitment and programming to promote HBCUs and showcase the talented young men and women on our campus. Morgan State University and Morgan Athletics thank the NBA, AT&T, ESPN, Turner Sports, and other participating partners for providing this one-of-a-kind opportunity for our outstanding Morgan student-athletes.”
On January 22, the Howard Bisons and Morgan State Bears faced off with Howard defeating Morgan State by a score of 91-82 in an exciting conference game, setting the stage for this highly-anticipated rematch.
Both teams will have an opportunity to meet with league and team executives, current and former NBA and WNBA players, and learn about specialized programs centered on networking and professional development.
During the All-Star 2022 Weekend, the contributions of HBCU will be spotlighted along with “storytelling content, career development opportunities for students, special performances and financial contributions.”
Currently, HBCU students are encouraged to apply for the first-ever NBA HBCU Fellowship Program at careers.nba.com.
The application deadline for the fellowship is on Feb. 20, 2022, the day of the 2022 NBA All-Star Game.
The NBA HBCU Classic will take place on Saturday, Feb. 19 at 2 p.m. EST, and air on TNT and ESPN2. Tickets for the game are currently available at NBAEvents.com.