If the NBA All-Star Game happens this year— and that’s a big if — HBCUs could take the big stage like never before.
Plans for an All-Star Game in Atlanta this March are in discussions, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. Fundraising for HBCUs and COVID-19 is said to be a big part of the plan.
National Basketball Players Association President Chris Paul has reportedly been pushing the idea. Paul is a big proponent of historically black colleges and universities. He enrolled at Winston-Salem State University last fall and said he plans to graduate.
All-Star Weekend was originally set to take place in Indianapolis in February, but COVID-19 canceled that. The target date for the game appears to be March 7.
The game could take place at State Farm Arena, home of the NBA’s Atlanta Hawks. But it could also be held at “an Atlanta-based HBCU campus gymnasium,” according to ESPN’s sources.
There are currently only two basketball gymnasiums in Atlanta: Clark Atlanta’s L.S. Epps Gymnasium and Morehouse’s College’s Forbes Arena.
Between the two, Morehouse would be the more likely destination. Forbes Arena is an $8 million, 6,000-seat facility part of the $51 million-plus investment in the Atlanta University Center by the Atlanta Committee for the Olympic Games (ACOG) was dedicated on April 3, 1996.
Of course, Atlanta — like the rest of the world — is still dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic. A new variant of the coronavirus has been identified within the state and many people are questioning if an All-Star Game should be played at all.
If an NBA All-Star Game does happen and HBCUs do benefit, it would make plenty of sense. The game’s broadcast rights belong to Atlanta-based Turner Sports. Turner Sports broadcasted ” Captial One’s The Match; Champions for Change” a charity golf tournament to raise money for HBCUs, last November.