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NBA Announce Grambling State, Southern University As the Next HBCUs to Play Classic Match

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The NBA officially set the date for next year’s NBA HBCU Classic match. 

In a press release, the league announced that they, along with the Southwestern Athletic Conference, chose the HBCUs, Grambling State University and Southern University, to take part in the match on Saturday, Feb. 18 at 4 p.m. ET. The game will be available for viewing on TNT, ESPN2 and the official NBA TV. 

Basketball legends Bob Love and Willis Reed will also be taking part in the NBA HBCU Classic 2023 game. Love, a graduate of Southern University, and Reed, an alum of Grambling State, will serve as honorary captains in the match. 

“I credit my career in part to my time at Grambling State,” said Reed in an official statement. “The HBCU Classic will provide what is to most a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to play on the NBA stage and serve as a platform for those interested in the business side of the game to gain industry insight and make lasting connections.”

“My pathway from Southern to the NBA has opened countless doors for me,” added Love in a statement. “I am proud to support the NBA in using the game of basketball to celebrate the rich history of HBCUs and drive opportunity for the next generation of leaders both on and off the court.”

The 2023 NBA HBCU Classic game will mark the second time that the game will be held. The NBA debuted the series this year in February with a match between the men’s basketball teams at Howard University and Morgan State University. With this series, the league is committed to drawing attention to HBCU athletes and athletic programs as part of their mission to provide support for HBCUs.

Along with the game, the league awarded both HBCUs with $100,000 in funds for the student’s experience in the Classic match. Eleven students from the HBCUs were also given the opportunity to work as a paid intern for a week as part of the NBA’s HBCU Event Shadow initiative. 

The league has previously committed to supporting HBCUs. In 2021, the NBA announced a $1 million donation through programs such as the Thurgood Marshall College Fund. During the summer of this year, they also held their first HBCU Fellowship Program, giving 60 students the chance to take part in a 10-week internship.

“I am very excited for our student-athletes, fans, supporters and alumni that we will take part in the second NBA HBCU Classic during NBA All-Star,” said the Director of Athletics at Southern, Roman Banks, in a statement. “We are excited for everyone to see one of the great and historic rivalries between Grambling State and Southern University and to showcase the excellence and talent that has come to define student-athletes from the SWAC and HBCUs.”

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