The NBA and NBA Foundation announced new programs designed to create new opportunities and professional experiences for HBCU students.
Beginning next year, a new paid fellowship program with the NBA, WNBA, and their teams will provide career development around the business and operations of basketball to undergraduate and graduate HBCU students.
The fellowship program will offer HBCU students the opportunity to gain real-life and professional experience by working in a position in the league office as well as NBA and WNBA teams. All students in the fellowship program will be paired with a league or team employee to serve as a mentor.
In a statement, NBA Foundation Executive Director Greg Taylor said the partnership between the league and HBCUs is paramount to helping Black youth get into sports by doing more than just playing.
“We have such a long-standing, rich history of HBCUs preparing young Black folks for amazing opportunities career-wise,” Taylor said in a statement. “We are building on the NBA’s long-standing relationship with HBCUs. This makes a lot of sense. We put our heads together and thought about how we can pave the way for deserving and talented young people from HBCUs to forge their way into professional sports.”
Additionally, the inaugural HBCU Classic will occur between Morgan State University and Howard University men’s basketball teams during All-Star weekend. In addition to the game, there will be a litany of unique HBCU and NBA content, storytelling performances, and additional educational, athletic, and career programming opportunities throughout the weekend.
Former Norfolk State basketball player and former Milwaukee Bucks and Washington Bullets player Bob Dandridge said in a release he’s proud of the commitment the NBA has made in HBCU schools.
“The NBA is opening its minds and hearts to the plight of helping people from all ethnicities,” Dandridge said. “It’s a step forward that the NBA is trying to be a contributor to the historically Black schools.”