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NBA All-Star Game Benefits HBCUs

The NBA all-star game will be held on Sunday, March 7 at the State Farm Arena in Atlanta. The NBA and the NBPA agreed to pledge $2.5 million in funds and resources for HBCUs. This was pushed by the president of the players association, Phoenix Suns’ guard Chris Paul who has been an advocate for HBCUs by providing scholarships to HBCU students, vocally supporting HBCUs, and recently working on a CBS Sports documentary about Earl “The Pearl” Monroe and his effort to lead Winston-Salem State University to a national championship in 1967. Paul enrolled at Winston Salem University last fall. Although many NBA superstars are not ecstatic for the 2021 NBA All-Star game, as a student at a historically black college and specifically Morehouse College, I know the benefit the all-star game will have on not only but historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) in Atlanta, but HBCUs across the nation. There has been some pushback towards the NBA to have the all-star in the middle of a pandemic. The concerns are that the all-star game will bring fans to Atlanta to party and Atlanta mayor Keisha Bottom has stressed that the all-star game is “a made for TV event only.” “I have shared my concerns related to public health and safety with the NBA and Atlanta Hawks. We are in agreement that this is a made-for-TV event only, and people should not travel to Atlanta to party.” NBA commissioner Adam Silver said that the all-star game will not be open to the public, and there will only be a small number of fans representing HBCUs in attendance and essential health workers. “We have a partnership with the HBCUs for this all-star game and we’ll be bringing in roughly 1500 people representing schools like Morehouse and Clark that are in the Atlanta vicinity,” Silver said to Turner Sports. HBCUs make up only 3% of this countries’ colleges and universities, but they enroll 10% of all African American students and produce almost 20% of all African American graduates. Today HBCUs benefits Black students with lower tuition rates compared to non-HBCUs, alumni networks that lead to more internship and job opportunities, and a better sense of a belonging with mostly black faculty and students The main reason why I chose to attend an HBCU is because of the sense of belonging I felt when I visited and for once I wanted to be an institution where I was in the majority instead of the minority. Chris Paul has expressed his excitement about the NBA partnering with the players to support economic empowerment in black communities. Paul has been at the forefront of working with the NBA to give a platform for HBCUs in order for more young black kids to consider attending these schools. “It’s an honor and a privilege to have been an active proponent of HBCUs and seeing firsthand the impact HBCUs have on students and our community,” Paul told CBS sports. Paul has encouraged high school students to apply to HBCUs and a platform like the all-star game benefits HBCUs by giving them exposure on a global stage. This will present the opportunity for high school students and student-athletes to see the positive impact HBCUs have on the black community. The funding raised by the league in this event could be used to open doors for students to get scholarships or money used for new facilities. According to the American Council on Education, more than 70% of HBCU students have limited finances. The reason why the all-star game is so beneficial to HBCU students is that the money generated from this event will help keep HBCU students at their schools, instead of being forced to leave because they can’t afford it. No matter how you slice it, the all-star game may not be popular for elected officials or NBA stars, but this event is certainly a win for all HBCUs

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