NBA Partnering With HBCUs To Give Fellowship Opportunities To Students

Undergraduate and graduate students at Black Colleges will get the chance to work with the league and its teams in basketball operations.

The NBA has announced a new initiative that will give HBCU students opportunities for career advancement and professional development by seeing first-hand what it’s like to be a part of the league’s day-to-day functioning.

Beginning in 2022, the NBA said in a press statement on Thursday (Oct. 21), the league and its teams will offer a paid annual fellowship for undergraduate and graduate students from HBCUs, led by the NBA Foundation. They will work in the league office and with NBA and WNBA team operations and will be matched with a league or team employee mentor.

“The NBA family recognizes the storied and prominent role that HBCUs have played in our society for decades,” said Mark Tatum, NBA Deputy Commissioner and Chief Operating Officer. “We also recognize that within our commitments to increase Black representation across the league and grow the game, we can create educational, athletic and career opportunities through engagement with these institutions.”

Several officials with HBCUs and organizations that support their students praised the NBA for embarking on the new initiative and the new path it opens for them in the area of basketball operations.

“We appreciate the NBA’s commitment to supporting our institutions, and we are excited to showcase the on and off-the-court talent and excellence that has come to define student-athletes from the MEAC and HBCUs,” said Kery Davis, Howard University’s Director of Intercollegiate Athletics.

Dr. Harry L. Williams, President and CEO of the Thurgood Marshall College Fund echoed that sentiment, saying that he is pleased that his group’s relationship with the NBA will continue. “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.”

NBA officials say the existing relationship with HBCUs will be strengthened with additional scholarship program, business case competitions, mentoring, networking and internship opportunities with the league’s partners and teams.

Applications for the annual fellowship will be available on in the coming months, the league says. Interested students can register and get updated information at

In addition to the new fellowship, the NBA will hold its first HBCU Classic during the 2022 All-Star Weekend in Cleveland on Feb. 19. The highlight will be a Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) game between the Howard University and Morgan State University men’s basketball teams.

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Also during All-Star Weekend more than $1 million will be given to support the HBCU community through the Thurgood Marshall College Fund; the United Negro College Fund; and academic institutions, the league said.

In addition the league announced:

•  The NBA, the NBA G League and Basketball Africa League will leverage their pre-draft combines and showcase events for HBCU athletes, coaches and trainers.

•  An expansion of its targeted referee development strategy; the NBA 2K League will host events on HBCU campuses to open the doors for careers in gaming and eSports.

•  A partnership with HBCU alumni and Black entrepreneurs to bring in more Black businesses as league licensees.

•  The NBA will air special alternate game telecasts that will have interactive features on NBA League Pass and will work with HBCUs to provide special experiences with those games.

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