Football has been the headliner among HBCU sports due in large part to the influence and social media brilliance of Deion Sanders, but Black college hoops culture refuses to be left behind when it comes to the amount of events highlighting its talent and affiliated star power.
The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame is mindful and appreciative of the contributions of Black athletes, Black coaches and HBCUs. The organization announced the second annual circuit of two HBCU basketball events, the Boost Mobile HBCU Tip-Off and the Boost Mobile HBCU Challenge hosted by Phoenix Sun Chris Paul, a 12-time NBA All-Star and NBA 75th anniversary team selection.
“We are so excited for the second year of our HBCU Challenge. It is great to work with our partners to give these student athletes a national stage they may not otherwise have,” said Paul in a statement. “I hope these events give these players an experience that they’ll remember for the rest of their lives.”
The Boost Mobile HBCU Tip-Off will take place Nov. 15-16 at Mohegan Sun Arena with four historically Black colleges and universities participating. The two-day doubleheader will feature Clark Atlanta University, Virginia Union University, Johnson C. Smith University, and Xavier University of Louisiana.
The Boost Mobile HBCU Challenge is December 17-18 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas with four HBCUs on the slate. The two-day double-header will feature Norfolk State University, Hampton University, Texas Southern University, and North Carolina A&T State University.
“Chris Paul has been a committed supporter of HBCUs and has diligently worked to create opportunities for the student-athletes at these institutions,” said John L. Doleva, president and CEO of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.
Paul, a philanthropist and entrepreneur, has actively supported HBCUs for years. He’s even expressed that if he had not been a basketball prodigy at a time when attending an HBCU was unheard of, he would have personally appreciated an HBCU education.
Paul was recently appointed to President Joe Biden’s advisory board on historically Black colleges and universities. Now he’s using his influence to enhance the HBCU experience by bringing visibility to student-athletes, while also supporting educational programs.
“It is a great honor,” said Johnson C. Smith University men’s basketball coach Stephen Joyner in a statement. “This tournament will give our young players the opportunity to experience something not usually available to HBCU student-athletes and to compete on a national stage. Chris and I are from Winston-Salem, North Carolina, and raised in the backyard of one of the most prestigious black college basketball powerhouses, Winston-Salem State University, which was coached by the late Clarence “Big House” Gaines and former player Earl “The Pearl’ Monroe led WSSU to an NCAA title. Both of these men are members of the Naismith Hall of Fame. This HBCU Tip-Off will allow America to see the talent that we have on the court.”
For more on NBA Star Chris Paul’s tournaments that drive his efforts to increase national visibility for HBCU basketball programs, click here.