In October, the NBA and NBA Foundation announced new programs designed to create greater opportunity for undergraduate and graduate students from Historically Black College and Universities (HCBU). Monday, the application process begins for the NBA HBCU Fellowship Program.
Juniors, seniors and graduate students from HBCUs can apply via careers.nba.com/early-career-programs/ Monday through Feb. 20 to intern with the league office or teams for a 10-week period this summer.
“The HBCU Fellowship Program is a true continuation of the NBA Foundation’s mission to drive economic opportunity for young people within the Black community,” said NBA Foundation Executive Director Greg Taylor. “We are proud of the investment the league has made to promote important school-to-career opportunities and to further develop the best and brightest talent from our nation’s HBCUs.”
The paid fellowship program with the NBA, WNBA and teams will provide career development around the business and operations of the game.
“The NBA is committed to increasing diversity across our entire ecosystem,” said NBA Chief People & Inclusion Officer Oris Stuart. “Through the HBCU Fellowship Program, we will dedicate a new talent pipeline to the next generation of leaders, and we’re excited to help develop the Fellows for careers in the business of basketball.”
In February, there will also be the first-ever NBA HBCU Classic in Cleveland between the Howard University and Morgan State University men’s basketball teams, as well as a variety of other unique content, storytelling, performances and contributions throughout All-Star weekend. There will also be additional educational, athletic and career programming across the NBA family.
Avery Johnson, who starred at Southern University from 1986-88 before having a successful career as an NBA player and coach, loves the idea of the league promoting HBCUs.
“A lot of us played at HBCUs and still made it to the NBA,” said Johnson, who led the country with 13.3 assists per game in 1987-88. “You can still be successful if you play at an HBCU. If you’re good enough, NBA scouts will find you whether you’re at a Power Five school or an HBCU. We will continue to get more support from corporations and donors giving back to HBCUs so that we can improve the basketball and student experience.
“To have the NBA get behind the HBCUs is great. This will shine light on those schools and the wonderful work that those professors and coaches and student bodies are doing. This will get even more people to contribute.”
The goals of the NBA Foundation is to advance the economic opportunity for Black youth from the ages of 14 to 24. Through the fellowship program, students will have the opportunity to gain meaningful employment opportunities.
All student fellows will also be matched with a league or team employee mentor as part of their experience.
And the HBCU community is eager for those experiences.
Dr. Glenda Glover, the president at Tennessee State University, shared, “This is an amazing partnership for students to be able to engage in programs and learn about the game — from basketball operations to accounting. To take this many students and give them a fellowship is appealing and exciting. This is tremendous and the NBA’s commitment to diversity and social justice just rings throughout. It makes the NBA so important to HBCUs.”
Sixty fellows will be selected by NBA teams and the league office to work in ticket sales, corporate partnerships, legal, social responsibility and marketing.