The NBA announced the expansion of its continuing commitment to HBCUs with a range of new initiatives to create greater opportunities for students and alumni, to spark economic advancement, and to further celebrate the storied history of these renowned institutions.

According to an official press release obtained by EBONY, the NBA will “develop new programs and events focused on the HBCU community—specifically around professional development, career advancement and increased support and awareness for HBCU athletics and institutions.”

The following initiatives are a part of the NBA’s continuing partnership with HBCUs.

New Fellowship Program for Career Development:

  • Launching in 2022, the NBA and its teams will offer a new paid fellowship program for undergraduate and graduate students. The program, which will be led by the NBA Foundation, 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.

NBA HBCU Classic:

  • Building off the success of NBA All-Star 2021, the NBA and the National Basketball Players Association (NBPA) will once again 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 men’s basketball teams. The game will be played at the Wolstein Center in Cleveland on February 19, 2022, and will be broadcast live. 
  • During NBA All-Star, 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.   

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 e-sports, 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.  

Dr. Harry L. Williams, President and CEO of Thurgood Marshall College Fund, echoed similar sentiments about the NBA’s efforts to partner with HBCUs.

“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,” he said. “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.”

“The NBA’s focus on HBCUs and inclusion of the Black community is outstanding,” said Dr. Michael Loman, CEO of the United Negro College Fund.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.”

For more information about the NBA and HBCUs programming, check out