When the NBA and NBA Foundation announced new programs earlier this year designed to create more opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students from historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs), it only underscored the value placed on those institutions by the league, its owners, and players.
The announcement also helped set the stage for the November 2021 inaugural Boost Mobile HBCU Challenge at Footprint Center in Phoenix, home of the Phoenix Suns NBA Team.
The vision of Suns’ superstar point guard Chris Paul, the tournament featured Hampton, Norfolk State, Morgan State, and Grambling State. The schools faced off in a round-robin format that ESPN2 and ESPNU carried live on national television.
Paul said the goal was to increase the visibility of HBCUs by hosting them in an NBA arena on national TV.
“I [was] so excited for the chance to give these players the opportunity to experience something not usually available to HBCU student-athletes and compete on a national stage,” Paul said in a statement.
“My time in college is something I’ll never forget, and I hope these events give these players something they’ll remember for the rest of their lives. I sincerely appreciate the collaboration of the Basketball Hall of Fame and the Phoenix Suns to bring this to life, and I can’t thank the team over at Boost Mobile enough for their support of this event.”
It’s not lost on Paul and Phoenix Suns owner Robert Sarver that HBCU basketball doesn’t receive the fanfare and national media attention accorded other mainstream NCAA institutions.
From conference playoffs and the annual March Madness to the NCAA Championship game, much of the nation –if not the globe – focuses on college basketball.
Despite the same level of play and intensity, games involving HBCUs are, by comparison, mostly devoid of such a media spotlight.
“For me, it’s just about giving a voice to the voiceless,” Paul stated on the ESPN show, First Take.
Paul routinely has led by example.
As union president, the point guard helped negotiate an agreement between the league and the Players Association to allow NBA athletes to suit up wearing various social justice phrases on their uniforms.
Players like Paul, LeBron James, and Carmelo Anthony wore jerseys with messages like “Say Her Name,” “I Can’t Breathe,” and “Speak Up.”
As 2021 ended, the Suns and the NBA have cemented their legacy among professional sports leagues as pioneers and activists for social justice change.
They’ve also firmed up their commitment to HBCUs sports scholarships and other strategies to increase the visibility of the accomplishments of HBCUs athletes.
Suns coach Monty Williams learned the nuances of basketball from Taft Hickman, who spent nearly a half-century coaching at high schools in the Washington, D.C., area and Bowie State University, an HBCU located in Maryland.
Williams also has noted the commitment Sarver and the Suns organization has made to provide the best training facilities, support staff, and talent to help the team succeed on and off the court.
“While I have striven to understand and relate to what our Black players are feeling and experiencing today, I sympathize with them, listen to them, and support them,” Sarver affirmed in a previously released statement.
October 16, 2023, HOUSTON, TX – Congressional Candidate Amanda Edwards has raised over $1 million in less than 4 months, a substantial sum that helps bolster the frontrunner status of the former At-Large Houston City Council Member in her bid for U.S. Congress. Edwards raised over $433,000 in Q3 of 2023. This strong Q3 report expands on a successful Q2 where Edwards announced just 11 days after declaring her candidacy that she had raised over $600,000. With over $829,000 in cash-on-hand at the end of the September 30th financial reporting period, Edwards proves again that she is the clear frontrunner in the race. “I am beyond grateful for the strong outpouring of support that will help me to win this race and serve the incredible people of the 18th Congressional District,” said Edwards. “We are at a critical juncture in our nation’s trajectory, and we need to send servant leaders to Congress who can deliver the results the community deserves. The strong support from our supporters will help us to cultivate an 18th Congressional District where everyone in it can thrive.” Edwards said. “Amanda understands the challenges that the hard-working folks of the 18th Congressional District face because she has never lost sight of who she is or where she comes from; she was born and raised right here in the 18th Congressional District of Houston,” said Kathryn McNiel, spokesperson for Edwards’ campaign. Edwards has been endorsed by Higher Heights PAC, Collective PAC, Krimson PAC, and the Brady PAC. She has also been supported by Beto O’Rourke, among many others. About Amanda: Amanda is a native Houstonian, attorney and former At-Large Houston City Council Member. Amanda is a graduate of Eisenhower High School in Aldine ISD. Edwards earned a B.A. from Emory University and a J.D. from Harvard Law School. Edwards practiced law at Vinson & Elkins LLP and Bracewell LLP before entering public service. Edwards is a life-long member of St. Monica Catholic Church in Acres Homes. For more information, please visit www.edwardsforhouston.com
As September 13th rolls around, we extend our warmest birthday wishes to the creative powerhouse, Tyler Perry, a man whose indomitable spirit and groundbreaking work have left an indelible mark on the world of entertainment. With his multifaceted talents as an actor, playwright, screenwriter, producer, and director, Tyler Perry has not only entertained but also inspired audiences worldwide, particularly within the African-American community, where his influence and role have been nothing short of powerful. Born in New Orleans, Louisiana, in 1969, Tyler Perry’s journey to stardom was a path riddled with adversity. Raised in a turbulent household, he found refuge in writing, using it as a therapeutic outlet. This period of introspection gave rise to one of his most iconic creations, Madea, a vivacious, no-nonsense grandmother who would later become a beloved figure in Perry’s works, offering a unique blend of humor and profound life lessons. Despite facing numerous challenges, including rejection and financial struggles, Perry’s determination and unwavering belief in his abilities propelled him forward. In 1992, he staged his first play, “I Know I’ve Been Changed,” which, although met with limited success, was a pivotal moment in his career. Unfazed by initial setbacks, Perry continued to hone his craft, and by 1998, he had successfully produced a string of stage plays that showcased his storytelling prowess.
Calling all teenage student-athletes! If you have dreams of playing college soccer and wish to represent an HBCU, the HBCU ID Camp is your golden opportunity. From 8 am to 5 pm on November 11-12, Houston Sports Park will transform into a hub for aspiring male and female soccer players. Coaches from HBCUs across the nation will be present to evaluate, scout, and offer valuable feedback. Moreover, they might even spot the next soccer prodigy to join their collegiate soccer programs. This camp is not just about honing your soccer skills but also a chance to connect with the HBCU soccer community. You’ll learn the ins and outs of what it takes to excel on the field and in the classroom, which is crucial for a college athlete. The HBCU ID Camp is an excellent platform to network with coaches, learn from experienced athletes, and take the first steps toward your college soccer journey. To secure your spot at this incredible event, don’t forget to register [here](insert registration link). Space is limited to 120 participants, so make sure to reserve your place before it’s too late. It’s time to turn your dreams of playing college soccer into a reality.