Tennessee State University has announced that men’s basketball alumnus and current NBA star Robert Covington is donating funds toward a practice facility for the men’s and women’s basketball programs at Tennessee State University.
“I love my alma mater, I’m not donating a new practice facility for the recognition or because I NEED to—I am doing it because I truly WANT to. I know what the school didn’t have when I was here as a student and I want future generations of kids to have the best resources available to them, to build their futures both on and off the court. I want them to step on this campus and feel like their dreams can come true here, because mine really did.” Covington said in a written statement.
“We are extremely proud of Mr. Robert Covington’s success and are grateful for his contributions to the University,” said university president Glenda Glover. “Most importantly, his success on and off the court speaks volumes about the caliber of students TSU and other HBCUs produce. We thank him, his family, and the Allergic To Failure Foundation for this generous gift.”
“As the director of athletics, I’m extremely gracious and thankful for Rob becoming a stakeholder in helping to change the national trajectory of our basketball programs,” said Athletic Director Mikki Allen. “The narrative is shifting in the landscape of college basketball recruiting in respect to HBCUs landing 5 star talent. Through this historic gift, the Covington Pavilion will now undoubtedly put Tennessee State University in the mix.”
Construction for the new practice facility is slated to begin spring 2021.
Covington added, “I made some of the best memories of my life at TSU. Go to a bigger school? Nope. I wouldn’t change it for the world because the people who’ve had the most significant impact on my life, they wouldn’t be next to me today. It’s special to be at the forefront of something that can spark a major change as far as kids going to an HBCU and learning about Black history, their culture and where they came from. Learning about your ancestors—you can’t always get that in the classroom. That’s a big thing, it’s very important.”
While the road to fulfill his dream of playing in the NBA took a tremendous amount of work, the Houston Rockets small forward said it’s a path others at TSU can accomplish in any profession: “I had an experience very few professional athletes had. It was life-changing. I’m a walking product of a kid that went to an HBCU and created a narrative for myself.
“I feel like now is the time for change and progression all around. I’m in a great place to give back to the place that shaped who I am—not only as an athlete but as a man. My family and I are excited to be able to do this and to break ground on Covington Pavilion today.”