NBA celebrates HBCUs with special court, patches for 2021 All-Star game

The court for the 2021 NBA All-Star Game will highlight and pay tribute to the vital role of Historically Black Colleges and Universities. (NBA)

The NBA has unveiled how it will pay tribute to Historically Black Colleges and Universities during the 2021 All-Star game, with HBCU-inspired elements being incorporated into the court itself as well patches on players' jerseys.

The court, made in collaboration with HBCU alumni for various schools, was designed to represent both the academic significance of these institutions and the pride and school spirit that exists in students who have attended them. Painted with vibrant colours, the images incorporate icons who represent "the best of HBCU academics, music and campus life."

Players' All-Star uniforms will feature patches celebrating the Thurgood Marshall College Fund and UNCF.

Named after the late civil rights icon Thurgood Marshall, who served as the first Black Justice of the Supreme Court and was the architect of the legal strategy that ended the era of official segregation in America, the fund supports nearly 300,000 students. UNCF is a philanthropic organization that funds scholarships for Black students.

Both organizations are among the beneficiaries of donations the NBA is making as part of the All-Star event.

The NBA has invited nearly 1,500 front-line workers, community partners and HBCU alumni, students and faculty to attend the festivities, with seating being arranged in accordance with health and safety protocols.

In addition to the in-arena fans, 300 front-line workers and HBCU students will be invited to attend virtually.

The NBA All-Star game, Skills Challenge, Dunk Contest and 3-Point Contest will all take place on March 7, the first time all the events will be hosted on the same day.

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