The NBA ALL-STAR 2021 Theme Is “Boost HBCUs”

As part of NBA All-Star 2021, the NBA today announced additional details regarding the NBA family’s collective support for Historically Black Colleges and Universities and communities of color disproportionately impacted by COVID-19.  

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Thurgood Marshall College Fund President and CEO, Dr. Harry L. Williams:

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.

As previously announced, the NBA family, including partners AT&T, MTN DEW®, State Farm® and Taco Bell®, will collectively provide more than $3 million in initial support to the HBCU community through the Thurgood Marshall College Fund (TMCF), UNCF (United Negro College Fund) and Direct Relief’s Fund for Health Equity

We welcome this exciting opportunity to partner with the NBA and the players,” said UNCF CEO, Dr. Michael Lomax. “Together, the NBA and players can shine a bright light on the vital work of our nation’s HBCUs and help ensure that we can support our Black college students on their educational journeys.

Through contributions and awareness, the NBA family will further the urgent and longstanding work and traditions of these organizations and institutions to create greater educational, financial and health equity.  

During the past year, public health data has made clear that the cumulative effect of historic racial and economic inequities in our country have worsened the impact of the pandemic on communities of color and predominately Black institutions.  

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HBCUs – which produce 20 percent of the country’s Black college graduates but only account for three percent of all colleges in the United States – were particularly impacted by COVID-19, experiencing drastic declines in funding and enrollment.  

Clark Atlanta University President, Dr. George T. French, Jr.:

The Clark Atlanta University community is incredibly excited to be a part of NBA All-Star 2021.  The night will provide a unique opportunity not only to celebrate the accomplishments of our students, faculty and alumni, but also to share the rich history and essential contributions of our institution and other HBCUs with a global audience.

Below is more information regarding the format and beneficiaries of the All-Star Game, skills competitions and additional elements:  

  • NBA All-Star Game: as part of this year’s game format, the two teams will play for either TMCF (comprised of 47 publicly-supported HBCUs) or UNCF (consisting of 37 member colleges) as their respective All-Star beneficiary, which will provide scholarship funding to further HBCU students’ higher education.  

Each organization will receive an initial $500,000 contribution, with a total of $1.75 million contributed between the organizations.

At the end of each of the first three quarters, an additional $150,000 will be awarded to the leading team’s selected organization – totaling $450,000 for those three quarters. 

A remaining $300,000 will be awarded to the team’s organization that first reaches the Final Target Score in the untimed fourth quarter. 

NBA All-Star 2021 presents an extraordinary moment to highlight the legacy of scholarship, leadership and service HBCUs have represented since their founding, said Morehouse College President, David A. Thomas, Ph.D. “Morehouse College is excited to be a part of this celebration and momentous occasion.

  •  AT&T Slam Dunk: through the TMCF COVID-19 HBCU Emergency Fund, the three AT&T Slam Dunk contestants will be paired with an HBCU to provide financial support that will benefit students, faculty or programs that address emergency aid, technology needs, food insecurities and mental health services exacerbated by the pandemic.  

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Each HBCU represented by the players will receive a $50,000 donation toward their respective school, with the winner earning an additional $100,000.  

  • AT&T will also provide a $100,000 contribution for the three dunkers in addition to donating $5,000 toward HBCU student initiatives through TMCF for every dunk during the NBA All-Star Game.


  • Taco Bell® Skills Challenge: as part of the Taco Bell® Skills Challenge, the six participants will represent HBCU schools and students from a selected state.  An initial donation of $35,000 will be given to students and institutions in each state through UNCF’s Emergency Student Aid program, which provides financial assistance for food and housing, emergency hardship and retention and degree completion to HBCU students. The winning Skills Challenge participant will earn an additional $40,000 to assist with critical financial support to HBCU schools and students from their selected state.  Additionally, two HBCU students who are part of the Taco Bell® Foundation’s Live Más Scholarship will be recognized during All-Star for using their passion to ignite change in their communities.

Spelman College President, Dr. Mary Schmidt Campbell:

As NBA All-Star returns to Atlanta, Spelman College looks forward to being a part of the celebration that highlights HBCUs across the city and beyond.  Our mission at Spelman is to educate Black women to become global leaders and to inspire a commitment to positive change.  We are honored to be part of the NBA 2021 All-Star celebration of our nation’s HBCUs.

  • MTN DEW® 3-Point Contest: during the MTN DEW® 3-Point Contest, every “Moneyball” shot made will yield a $3,500 donation, while “MTN DEW Zone” shots will be amplified and worth $5,000 and benefit Direct Relief’s Fund for Health Equity, which addresses gap funding for COVID-19 relief efforts in diverse communities throughout the country.  In addition, MTN DEW will award $100,000 in newly-created MTN DEW® Scholarships to two students from HBCUs during the 3-Point Contest broadcast.


  • The Goodr NBA All-Star Grocery Pop-Up presented by Kaiser Permanente: in partnership with Kaiser Permanente, Goodr will create full-service grocery stores in 16 communities across metro Atlanta, offering free groceries and household items to senior citizens, families, frontline workers, teachers and school staff. 


  • State Farm Assist Tracker: the State Farm Assist Tracker will return for its sixth consecutive All-Star game as part of the season-long commitment from State Farm to turn on-the-court assists into real-life assists in communities across the country.  For every assist on the court during this year’s NBA All-Star Game, State Farm will donate $1,900 – reflective of the more than 19,000 local State Farm agents – toward scholarship funding through the UNCF. 


  • Kia MVP: this year, Kia will donate an all-new, 2021 Sorento SUV to the NBA All-Star Game MVP’s team beneficiary.

Morris Brown College President, Dr. Kevin James:

Morris Brown College would like to thank the NBA, NBPA and the entire extended NBA family for including us in this year’s All-Star Game.  We welcome and appreciate the attention the night will bring to the unique and vital role played by historically Black institutions here in Atlanta and across the country.

Throughout the night, HBCUs will be showcased through special performances, unique content and storytelling, and the NBA family will also continue education and awareness efforts around important public health and safety communications.  

As NBA All-Star Weekend visits the City of Atlanta to showcase the talents and contributions of some of the world’s best and most well-known athletes, the ITC community is pleased to join the NBA and its players in celebrating the achievements and contributions of some of our country’s most important institutions – our Historically Black Colleges and Universities” The Interdenominational Theological Center (ITC) President, Rev. Matthew Wesley Williams said.

Coverage of the 70th NBA All-Star Game will begin at 5 p.m. ET on TNT.  Click here for a full schedule of TNT’s coverage of the NBA All-Star Game and skills competitions.

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