This weekend the best players in the NBA will gather in Atlanta for NBA All-Star 2021. Today, the league has announced additional details regarding the NBA’s support for Historically Black Colleges and Universities and communities of color disproportionately impacted by COVID-19.

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The NBA family, along with AT&T, Kia, MTN DEW®, State Farm® and Taco Bell®, will collectively provide more than $3 million in support to the HBCU community through the Thurgood Marshall College Fund (TMCF), UNCF (United Negro College Fund) and Direct Relief’s Fund for Health Equity

During the past year, public health data has detailed the cumulative effect of historic racial and economic inequities in our country have worsened the impact of the pandemic on communities of color and predominately Black institutions. HBCUs – which produce 20 percent of the country’s Black college graduates but are only three percent of all colleges in the United States – were particularly impacted by COVID-19, experiencing drastic declines in funding and enrollment.


During the NBA All-Star Game, the game format will support TMCF, comprised of 47 publicly-supported HBCUs or UNCF, which has 37 member colleges, as the All-Star beneficiary. The money will provide scholarship funding to each of the HBCU students’ higher education.

Each organization will begin with a $500,000 contributionwith a total of $1.75 million contributed between the organizations. At the end of each of the first three quarters, an additional $150,000 will be awarded to the leading team’s selected organization – totaling $450,000 for those three quarters. A remaining $300,000 will be awarded to the team’s organization that first reaches the Final Target Score in the untimed fourth quarter.

The halftime AT&T Slam Dunk contest will pair the contestants with a HBCU to provide financial support that will benefit students, faculty or programs that address emergency aid, technology needs, food insecurities and mental health services exacerbated by the pandemic. Each HBCU represented by the players will receive a $50,000 donation toward their respective school, with the winner earning an additional $100,000. AT&T will also provide a $100,000 contribution for the three dunkers in addition to donating $5,000 toward HBCU student initiatives through TMCF for every dunk during the NBA All-Star Game.

As part of the Taco Bell® Skills Challenge, the six participants will represent HBCU schools and students from a selected state. An initial donation of $35,000 will be given to students and institutions in each state through UNCF’s Emergency Student Aid program, which provides financial assistance for food and housing, emergency hardship and retention and degree completion to HBCU students. The winning Skills Challenge participant will earn an additional $40,000 to assist with critical financial support to HBCU schools and students from their selected state.

During the MTN DEW® 3-Point Contest, every “Moneyball” shot made will yield a $3,500 donation, while “MTN DEW Zone” shots will be amplified and worth $5,000 and benefit Direct Relief’s Fund for Health Equity, which addresses gap funding for COVID-19 relief efforts in diverse communities throughout the country. In addition, MTN DEW will award $100,000 in newly-created MTN DEW® Scholarships to two students from HBCUs during the 3-Point Contest broadcast.

Throughout the night, HBCUs will be showcased through special performances, unique content and storytelling, and the NBA family will also continue education and awareness efforts around important public health and safety communications. Coverage of the 70th NBA All-Star Game will begin at 5 p.m. ET on TNT. Click here for a full schedule of TNT’s coverage of the NBA All-Star Game and skills competitions.

You can learn more about how the NBA will assist HBCUs and pandemic relief here.