Uncasville, Conn. – The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame announced today a newly developed collegiate event in partnership with NBA veteran and 2021 Western Conference Champion Chris Paul. The Chris Paul HBCU Tip-Off will take place November 22 and 23 at Mohegan Sun Arena with four Historically Black Colleges and Universities participating. The two-day doubleheader will feature Morehouse College, Virginia Union University, West Virginia State University, and Winston-Salem State University.
The Hall of Fame and the Paul Family share several unique ties to the participating institutions. Virginia Union is the alma mater of Class of 2021 enshrinee Ben Wallace and West Virginia State produced Class of 2003 Hall of Famer Earl Lloyd. Class of 1982 Hall of Fame coach Clarence Gaines coached at Winston-Salem State for 47 years, an HBCU Chris Paul and several of his family members have attended. Morehouse College has a very strong Journalism and Sports Program, which has documented the historical impact of HBCUs on the game of basketball.
“Chris Paul has shown unwavering support for HBCUs and brought an awareness to creating opportunities for the student-athletes at these institutions,” said John L. Doleva, President and CEO of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. “The Hall of Fame is proud to share in Chris’s vision and bring this event to life at beautiful Mohegan Sun Arena.”
“I appreciate the collaboration of the Basketball Hall of Fame and Mohegan Sun in hosting this inaugural event,” said Chris Paul, 11-time NBA All-Star and Phoenix Suns point guard. “With several family members and friends who have attended HBCUs, I know first-hand how important they are to our community and country’s future. I’m excited to offer an elevated experience to the players and fans this November.”
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“We’re honored to be able to host this exciting new 2-day college basketball event, in partnership with Chris Paul and our long-time partners with the Basketball Hall of Fame,” said Dave Martinelli, Chief Marketing Officer for Mohegan Gaming & Entertainment (MGE). “HBCUs across this country are invaluable and produce so many rising stars in all walks of life. We can’t wait to welcome these four schools to our resort beginning November 22nd.”
Paul continues to be a vocal champion of HBCUs and is working toward a degree at Winston-Salem State University. He partnered with Harvard Business School to bring its Entertainment, Media and Sports program to North Carolina A&T and future HBCUs, creating the Special Topics in Management course to develop a pipeline for students pursuing careers in those industries. He raised awareness through his HBCU Sneaker Tour and launched HBCU voting initiatives to encourage students to vote this past election. He recently executive produced ESPN’s Why Not Us, the series taking an in-depth look at the NCCU men’s basketball team and what it means to play for an HBCU. Paul partnered with Sour Patch Kids and the Thurgood Marshall College Fund to create The Mischief for Change Scholarship, a college scholarship fund with a $1 million commitment over the next five years for students attending HBCUs.
The Basketball Hall of Fame is mindful and appreciative of the contributions Black athletes, Black coaches and HBCUs have made to the game of basketball since its inception. For several years, the Hall has incorporated the Early African American Pioneers committee into its Enshrinement election process, with a mission to acknowledge and honor those who were the greatest players of their time and created opportunities for future generations. Several Hall of Fame inductees have ties to HBCUs including Nat Clifton, Xavier University of Louisiana (HOF Class of 2014); Sam Jones, North Carolina Central University (HOF Class of 1984); John McLendon, Hampton University, Tennessee State, North Carolina Central (HOF Class of 1979 & 2016); Earl Monroe, Winston-Salem State (HOF Class 1990); and Willis Reed, Grambling State (HOF Class of 1982). To learn more about some of these unique contributors to the game, tune into the Hall of Fame’s podcast titled “Liberty, Justice and Ball” which serves as a platform for Hall of Famers to share their life’s experiences, especially at the intersection of basketball and social justice.
The Chris Paul HBCU Tip-Off is one event in the Hall of Fame’s series of collegiate events, which continues to grow in an effort to celebrate the game outside the museum walls. The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame is proud to continue its relationship with Learfield for sponsorship representation of its portfolio of collegiate events and Position Sports in an event operations and media relations capacity.
Courtesy: Basketball Hall of Fame