*The 2021 NBA All-Star Game kicked off with a conversation between Vice President Kamala Harris and Michael B. Jordan, who discussed their love for Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs).
“There are two things that led me to where I am at today,” said Harris, a graduate of Howard University. “My family and the HBCU I attended which was Howard University. I’m so happy that the NBA is celebrating our HBCUs.”
Harris, a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha, is the first HBCU graduate in the White House.
Sunday’s NBA All-Star Game in Atlanta was held at State Farm on one night for the first time due to the pandemic. Ahead of the game, the NBA and National Basketball Players Association (NBPA) announced that they will commit more than $2.5 million in funds and resources toward Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and support and awareness around equity and access to COVID-19 care, relief and vaccines, per a press release.
“Throughout the game, members of the Divine Nine fraternities and sororities, a prestigious group of nine historically Black Greek letter organizations, will introduce Atlanta’s most reputable step teams from Spelman College and Morehouse College,” the NBA said in a statement.
Congrats to this year’s All Stars! https://t.co/6EjBkJUfep
— Vice President Kamala Harris (@VP) March 8, 2021
“To highlight the significance of HBCUs, it is a tremendous windfall,” said Charles McClelland, the commissioner of the SWAC and a member of the NCAA Men’s Division I Basketball Committee. “It’s not just about the money. The exposure is going to allow students to go to our member institutions, to learn about our history, to learn about our culture. What they’re doing for the All-Star Game, we could not pay for and we could not duplicate.”
The All-Star Game generated $3 million in scholarship funds to donate to the United States’ Historically Black Colleges and Universities — which both Harris and Jordan have been outspoken in support of.
“When you’re at an HBCU,” Harris told The Washington Post last year, “and especially one with the size and with the history of Howard University — and also in the context of also being in D.C., which was known forever as being ‘Chocolate City’ — it just becomes about you understanding that there is a whole world of people who are like you.”
“It’s not just about there are a few of us who may find each other,” she added.
Jordan did not attend an HBCU but previously praised the schools at the launch of the Hoop Dreams Classic in his hometown of Newark, New Jersey.
“As a Newark native, I am committed to bringing change to the community and am honored to be able to present The Hoop Dreams Classic as a way to celebrate the value of community, education, and Black college experiences,” Jordan said in a statement to Forbes last December. “Through our shared love of basketball, I look forward to bringing the communal spirit of HBCUs to the city that helped shape me into the man I am today.”
During the Harris and Jordan chat, the duo also spoke about the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and vaccines.
“Right now Michael, I’m urging everyone to get the vaccine when it is your turn. I’ve taken the vaccine,” Harris said. “It’s about understanding that it’s bigger than you because it really is an extension of love thy neighbor and it will save their life.”
Concluding the interview, Harris praised athletes and their skills. “Let’s encourage them to be their best, you’ve got to admire that,” she said.