Five-star basketball recruit Makur Maker made headlines last summer when he passed on offers from Kentucky, UCLA, and other powerhouse schools in order to commit to Howard University, and as he continues on his quest “to make the HBCU movement real so that others will follow,” we’ll be fortunate enough to join him on his journey.
Apple TV+ has greenlit Big Man on Campus, a new docuseries that will share his coming-of-age story as he navigates the triumphs and tribulations of his freshman year at Howard against the backdrop of the Black Lives Matter movement and the ongoing global pandemic.
From a press release provided to The Root:
Big Man on Campus is the story of a historic moment in America told through the lens of a young athlete with the power to create change. In 2020, a year marked by social unrest, basketball sensation, NBA prospect and top NCAA recruit, Makur Maker, made the groundbreaking decision to play college basketball for Howard University in support of Historically Black Colleges and Universities rather than join one of the many top-tier programs offering him a full ride. Balancing extraordinary pressures both on and off the court, and with the eyes of the nation focused on his every move, Maker’s journey—from fleeing war-torn South Sudan as a child through to the movement he has sparked today—has put a face on the socio-political complexities of America during this unprecedented time.
In recent years, we’ve seen more and more high-profile recruits forgo powerhouse programs in order to seek out the personal enrichment they can only experience at an HBCU. North Carolina A&T’s Duncan Powell, Jackson State’s Trevonte Rucker, and Norfolk State’s Nate Tabor are just a few examples of players who truly understand just how impactful they can be and they’re determined to help shift the power dynamic in sports.
There’s also the important role that HBCUs play in the bigger picture, which I previously wrote about:
The importance of Maker opting to attend an HBCU cannot be understated. Black athletes wield tremendous power and influence, more so than ever before, and considering the crucial role that HBCUs play in the “creation and propagation” of the Black professional class, imagine how much stronger our community would be if HBCUs had the same funding and resources as their PWI counterparts.
While Maker’s freshman year at Howard was beset by a groin injury and the coronavirus, his future remains bright.
“I need you to hate sometimes,” he said with a smile recently. “It drives me to the gym and makes me get better.”
And thanks to Apple TV, we’ll be along for the ride.