Beginning next academic season, Howard University will reportedly be one of the newest college programs sponsored by Jordan Brand. Randall Williams first revealed the news on Wednesday in an exclusive story for The Boardroom. This deal will make HU one of a few HBCUs sponsored by Jordan Brand and effectively marks the end of the university’s 2016 contract with Under Armour. (However, this does not impact the Howard University golf team, which will continue being outfitted by Stephen Curry’s Curry Brand, an Under Armour sublabel.)
North Carolina A&T became the first Jordan Brand-sponsored HBCU a quarter-century ago, and it was also one of the three original Jordan Brand schools. The Morehouse College basketball team also currently wears Jordan Brand uniforms. But as of 2022, Georgetown University, UCLA, Marquette, and His Airness’ alma mater of UNC are on a very short list of Jordan-branded athletic departments. Howard University’s addition to that list reflects the Jordan Brand’s increased investment in HBCUs.
NBA point guard Chris Paul, one of the Jordan Brand’s premier faces, has also been one of the most vocal advocates supporting HBCUs. And although it hasn’t been officially confirmed, the odds are almost certain that the 11x All-Star was one of the strongest proponents of the new contract between Howard University and Jordan Brand.
During the 2019–20 “bubble season,” the 11x All-Star wore a series of Jordan Brand sneakers to rep different members of the HBCU family. Then in February 2021, the first season of Paul’s docuseries Why Not Us aired on ESPN+. The eight-part project, which he co-produced with Winston-Salem State University graduate Stephen A. Smith, chronicled “challenges [faced by the North Carolina Central University Men’s Basketball team] to compete at the same level as PWIs due to lack of funding, resources, and awareness.”
And this past March, Paul, Howard University alum Taraji P. Henson, and 16 other people were selected by President Joe Biden to join the Board of Advisors on Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). “It’s a honor and privilege to be a part of something like that,” he said after his Phoenix Suns lost on April 2, 2022, to the Oklahoma City Thunder, as reported by the Arizona Republic.
“Basketball is basketball and gives me an opportunity to learn and be a part of different things,” Paul added. “HBCUs are definitely a passion of mine, and I’m not only joining it just because. I’m learning to educate myself on different things, and most of all try to make an impact or help in any way I can.”