NBA rumors say Chris Paul isn’t the easiest baller to play with, but be damned if he isn’t continually putting on for the league.
The NBPA President’s latest venture is producing a documentary about Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) over the course of a season. Though the sports aspects of HBCUs are rarely delved into, the bigger issue is that the school faces a tough time recruiting top high school players who’d rather go to bigger, predominantly white universities.
“HBCUs historically have been at a competitive disadvantage with their basketball programs facing many challenges with funding, recruitment, misperceptions, and exposure,” Paul said in a statement. “With the current racial awakening in our country prompting young athletes to look at where they play, it’s now more important than ever to shine a light on HBCUs and showcase their value in sports and society.”
In recent years the only HBCU players who have made a splash into the NBA are Kyle O’Quinn, who went to Norfolk state before getting drafted by the Orlando Magic, had a stint with his hometown New York Knicks and currently plays for the Philadelphia 76ers. The only other that comes to mind is current Houston Rocket and Tenessee State alumni Robert Covington who was even named to the NBA’s All-Defensive First Team in 2018.
If you go back further into NBA history, some of the greats –including Ben Wallace, Anthony Mason, Charles Oakley— were products of HBCU and Paul sees the glaring disparity and wants to fix it.
“HBCUs have long been a passion for Chris and he has demonstrated a willingness and commitment to help these schools overcome the obstacles they face in funding and national awareness,” said Roadside Entertainment founding partner Ron Yassen, who’s producing the doc in partnership with Paul’s Ohh Dip!!! Productions. “As young athletes in high school and at the college level are considering taking their talents to HBCUs, it’s important to document this and share their stories with a wide audience.”
But not all hope is lost in upcoming draft classes as 15-year-old phenom Mikey Williams recently admitted that he’s down to seriously consider attending an HBCU, and within hours he received offers from Tennessee State, Texas Southern, and Norfolk State.
“I’ve always looked into going to an HBCU; my mom went to Hampton, and she put it in my head early, with my social media following and influence I feel that I have a chance to change sports forever,” he told Bleacher Report’s Taylor Rooks. “A lot of athletes are so star struck by big-name schools and coaches that they forget they control their own narrative. If there’s anybody that is getting paid from me being at their school I’d want it to be my own people. It’s all about timing and situation. I support the black community to the fullest and any way possible I can help I’m going to do so no matter what it is.”
With Chris Paul’s move, more eyes could be on HBCU athletics than ever before.