Blackness on the Brightest Stage

Photos By Christopher Doomes

By Christopher Doomes, Managing Editor of Visual Media


During a weekend when the lights shine the brightest, the NBA will be hosting its second annual HBCU Classic. The league has selected Grambling State University and Southern University to compete in this classic meant to showcase young black athletes and raise funds for selected institutions and other HBCUs. 


Similar to its inaugural game last season, both teams will receive $100,000 toward student experience. The NBA will also provide internship opportunities to current HBCU students during All-Star weekend in an attempt to expand opportunities for Black students. 


The NBA has frequently provided resources and opportunities for Black students, having contributed over $1 million toward HBCU communities. 


The NBA also would like to use the classic to highlight the rich tradition of Historically Black Colleges and Universities. 


The Grambling State and Southern rivalry runs deep and has an incredible history. Their respective football programs host an annual game, historically named the “Bayou Classic,” one of the biggest football classics in HBCU history. Now, this rivalry is showcased through basketball on its biggest stage possible.


“I am proud to support the NBA in using the game of basketball to celebrate the rich history of HBCUs and drive opportunity to play on the NBA stage,” said former NBA star and Southern alum Bob Love, who will serve as an honorary captain for his alma mater for Saturday’s game. 


“The HBCU classic will provide what is to most a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to play on the NBA stage and serve as a platform for those interested in the business side of the game to gain industry insight and make lasting connections,” said Willis Reed, an NBA legend from Grambling State who will also serve as the honorary captain for his alma mater. 


The NBA continues to push the envelope, inspiring change and bringing awareness to HBCU institutions. Their positive impact has provided career and economic opportunities that may not have been available in previous times.