By Shasa Revell, Staff Reporter
The 2021 All-Star Game is officially happening on March 7, 2021, in Atlanta, home of the Atlanta Hawks, following resistance from the leagues’ top talent.
This year, the NBA aims to continue its annual tradition of celebrating some of the greatest basketball players in the world, but the association will also honor Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and COVID-19 relief efforts.
Many fans wondered if there would be an All-Star game this year after the pandemic posed concerns among the players and fans concerned regarding safety precautions.
Adam Silver announced that the All-Star Game would continue this year, but for only one night instead of its typical weekend festivities.
This year’s main event will pay tribute to HBCUs and their importance through music and content, and increasing the awareness of equal accessibility to COVID-19 care.
“NBA All-Star in Atlanta will continue our annual tradition of celebrating the game and the greatest players in the world before a global audience,” Commissioner Adam Silver said.
“In addition to the festivities on the court, the All-Star Game will honor the vital role HBCUs play in our communities and focus attention and resources on COVID-19 relief, particularly for the most vulnerable.”
The NBA and the National Basketball Players Association (NBPA) have announced that they will commit more than $2.5 million in funds and resources toward HBCUs.
The 2021 All-Star Game will be in partners1hip with the Thurgood Marshall College Fund (TMCF), United Negro College Fund (UNCF), National Association for Equal Opportunity (NAFEO) and Direct Relief Fund for Health Equity.
The NBA, NBPA and NBA All-Star 2021 partners such as AT&T, Mountain Dew and Taco Bell will be highlighting the importance of HBCUs as well.
TMCF President Dr. Harry L. Williams emphasized the NBA’s continued commitment to their foundation and their support for this year’s game.
“As a founding partner of the Thurgood Marshall College Fund, the NBA has been a consistent supporter for more than 33 years. By dedicating its All-Star platform to supporting Historically Black Colleges and Universities, the NBA is making a profound statement about the league’s commitment to a better future, recognizing the crucial role Black colleges have always played in facilitating racial equity and serving the African American community,” said Thurgood Marshall College Fund President and CEO Dr. Harry L. Williams.
There will be many HBCU highlights throughout the game through creative content, storytelling, and music, including performances from various HBCU choirs, bands, and alum.
The special performances to look out for include:
- Florida A&M’s, The Marching “100” Band, and the Grambling State University Tiger Marching Band will share the national spotlight during the NBA All-Star player introductions from their respective historical campuses.
- Gladys Knight, an alumna of Shaw University, will perform the U.S. national anthem.
- Singer-songwriter Alessia Cara will sing the Canadian national anthem from Toronto.
- The Clark Atlanta University Philharmonic Society was selected to perform an original rendition of the Black National Anthem “Lift Every Voice and Sing” as NBA highlights the nation’s Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). The performance will pay tribute to the Black national anthem songwriter, notable Clark Atlanta alumnus, James Weldon Johnson.
- Throughout the game, members of the Divine Nine fraternities and sororities will introduce step teams from Spelman College and Morehouse College.
Student performers at these HBCUs are excited to share what this moment means to them, and their schools, like Cameron Morrell, a fourth-year music industry major at Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University (FAMU) selected to play at the game.
“I’m most looking forward to being a representative of what I believe to be the best band in the land on an amazing national platform while showing the country and world how great we are as well.”
The game this year will feature many celebrations during these uncertain times. From this event, HBCUs will gain more than just monetary donations but a global platform to showcase their significance.
These institutions of higher learning have been the catalysts for cultivation within our community for decades. The NBA is paying homage at one of their largest events.
“HBCUs provided premium education to our communities at a time when access to higher learning was denied us,” said NBPA Executive Director Michele Roberts. “They were there—and have remained there—for us. We now stand with them.”
You can support the celebration of HBCUs during the NBA 2021 All-Star Game with on-court action beginning at 6:30 p.m. (ET) on TNT.