Nearly a year ago today, the National Basketball Association shut down its season after Utah Jazz Center Rudy Gobert tested positive for COVID-19. This March, Gobert and the NBA's biggest stars are heading to Atlanta, Georgia for their 2021 All-Star Weekend festivities. While there, the league will help provide support for historically Black colleges and universities. The NBA will also offer COVID-19 relief for those in need. With the help of the Thurgood Marshall College Fund, more than $3 million in funds and resources will be distributed to various institutions and nonprofits across the country.
“What happened in 2020, it put a spotlight on some of the inequities that exist more specifically within the African-American community. And with the unfortunate incidents with George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, this sparked the conscience of this country, it literally woke up and recognized that there are some discrepancies," Thurgood Marshall College Fund President Harry L. Williams said.
“With that spotlight, organizations like the Thurgood Marshall College Fund, we’ve been in a position to address some of those concerns. Our partners have stepped up and said we want to help, we want to be part of the solution.”
In addition to supplying support for HBCUs throughout the weekend, the 2021 NBA All-Star Game will be played on a court-inspired by HBCUs. The league has also selected seven student artists to showcase throughout the arena.
"This weekend, the NBA will highlight and pay tribute to the vital role of Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) at NBA All-Star 2021 with HBCU-inspired elements incorporated on broadcast and in-arena on Sunday," the league stated in a recent press release.
"Seven artists who currently attend HBCUs will have their custom artwork displayed in-arena, at the players’ hotel, on the broadcast and across NBA social platforms ahead of and during NBA All-Star 2021. The seven students, who represent Howard University, Albany State University and Florida A&M University, respectively, created HBCU-inspired art with different themes. Five of the artists have been invited as virtual fans for the game, while two will attend in-arena."
Beyond the artwork, the 2021 NBA All-Star Game will be officiated by a crew of HBCU graduates. Not to mention, Tenessee State University graduate Robert Covington will participate in the week's activities. The 2021 NBA All-Star Weekend festivities are set to begin on March 7 at 5 p.m. ET.
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