Boston Celtics Host First-Ever HBCU Night at TD Garden

Boston Celtics HBCU Night
(Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

The Boston Celtics have always been one of the trail blazing franchises in the NBA. They hired the first black head coach in NBA history, Bill Russell. Now, they have made another historic franchise move by hosting the first ever HBCU Night at TD Garden for their Wednesday game against the New Orleans Pelicans.

What happened at Boston Celtics HBCU night?

The night started with an alumni mixer before the game that had approximately 60 attendees from Morehouse, Jackson State, Howard, Hampton, and Delaware State, to name a few.

The Celtics then proceeded to get an entertainment lineup filled with HBCU talent to carry fans through the night. Jessica Forest, an HBCU alum, sang the national anthem to start the night. The halftime performance were headlined with step show performances and dance routines by members of the Divine 9 (HBCU fraternities and sororities).

Who was in attendance?

Boston native and HBCU graduate Sharra Gaston was recognized as “Hero Among Us” during an in-game presentation.

Gaston co-founded the Boston HBCU Alumni Network that serves as college and career preparatory program from the local youth in Boston. She help start this foundation in 2018 and has raised over $100,000 that has pipelined over 20 Boston students to HBCUs across the nation.

The Celtics also honored local Boston youth Samya Fernandes. She received a $2,500 scholarship from the Thurgood Marshall College Fund and HBCU Incorporated.

Chris Paul and Celtics assistant coach Isaiah Covington presented Fernandes with the check.

Covington is a HBCU graduate of Delaware State and now serves as the performance coach for the team. He is also is a member of Kappa Alpha Si.

“I think the fans will get a chance to get a taste of the HBCU life with performances from the Divine. We held a mixer with 60 students from several HBCUs across the country. And lastly, shine awareness on HBCUs because there are none in New England,” said Covington in a sit-down interview with Boston NBC Sports.

Did the organization make a contribution?

The Celtics made a vow that they will continue their participation in the NBA’s HBCU Fellowship Program, which aims to provide career development opportunities in the business of basketball for undergraduate and graduate students from Historically Black Colleges and Universities.

This program has provided current HBCU students a 10-week paid summer internship program. The internship consist of 60 roles provided around the league to help students build relationships and learn the operations of the NBA.

All 30 NBA teams open up two positions within their organization to gain experience from. Last year program hosted 48 undergraduate students and 12 graduate students.

Jaylen Brown didn’t attend a HBCU, but he has spent time giving lectures, making donations, and visiting HBCU campuses across the country.

“I think it is great partnership between the NBA and HBCUs to get some light shed on them for what they have done traditionally. I would like to continue to see that. It’s obviously a high point for the NBA and the union to get more HBCU grads an opportunity,” Brown told reporters after the game.