Throughout the course of the past year, we’ve seen the profiles of HBCUs continue to escalate, as everyone from Chris Paul to Pharrell Williams (to even Peyton Manning) has made it their mission to support the next generation of Black royalty. And ever eager to put on for the culture and keep a spotlight on historically Black colleges and universities, Michael B. Jordan has announced a basketball showcase that will feature four of the top Division I HBCU men’s and women’s basketball programs in the country.
The Hoop Dreams Classic, which is going down on Friday at the Prudential Center in Newark, N.J., will not only provide resources for student-athletes to live their hoop dreams both on and off the court, but will create an “immersive cultural experience” that will celebrate additional elements of HBCU life, such as culinary events, live musical performances, a battle of the bands, film festivals, college and career opportunities, and much more.
“This past year has been the tipping point for so many, including myself, in revving up support for Black people,” Jordan said in a statement to The Root. “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. 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.”
The basketball programs that will participate have yet to be revealed, but it’s safe to assume that Howard University—which recently lured five-star recruit Makur Maker away from UCLA—could be a participant. In July, Maker became the highest-ranking college basketball prospect to commit to an HBCU since the creation of ESPN’s recruiting database in 2007.
Partial proceeds from the event will be used to support organizations that focus on supporting HBCUs and the local Newark community. It’s unclear what COVID-19 protocols will be in place, but as long as attendees and participants will able to remain safe, this sounds like a win for everyone.
You sure as hell can never get enough Black excellence, so shoutout to Michael B. Jordan for creating another opportunity to celebrate our own.