2021 All-Star

All-Star 2021 game court to represent HBCU spirit

The game court was designed in collaboration with HBCU alumni from various schools.

NBA All-Star Game Presentation to Feature HBCU-Inspired Elements on Broadcast and In-Arena

This weekend, the NBA will highlight and pay tribute to the vital role of Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) at NBA All-Star 2021 with HBCU-inspired elements incorporated on broadcast and in-arena on Sunday, March 7 from State Farm Arena in Atlanta. In addition to music, content and storytelling, the league will spotlight HBCU students and alumni through the Michelob Ultra Courtside virtual fan experience, student artwork, in-arena activations, merchandise and partnerships.

As previously announced, the NBA All-Star Game and skills competitions will take place on the same night for the first time. TNT’s coverage will begin at 5 p.m. ET, followed by the Taco Bell® Skills Challenge and MTN DEW® 3-Point Contest starting at 6:30 p.m. ET.

All-Star Court
The game court for NBA All-Star 2021 will represent both the academic significance as well as the incredible pride and school spirit of HBCUs and their students. The court design – created in collaboration with HBCU alumni from various schools – is vibrant and energetic, incorporating icons representing the best of HBCU academics, music and campus life while connecting back to the celebration of the game at center court.

Virtual Fans
Three hundred frontline workers and HBCU students will be invited to virtually attend NBA All-Star 2021 through Michelob ULTRA Courtside, the game’s virtual fan experience. Various VIP guests will join the frontline workers and HBCU students in this special co-viewing experience. In partnership with Anheuser-Busch and the Anheuser-Busch Foundation, who together have contributed more than $5 million to UNCF to support educational programs and scholarships for students attending HBCUs, the Michelob ULTRA Courtside experience will give fans the ability to virtually interact with each other and access to special reaction graphics that will be visible on their screens to those inside State Farm Arena

HBCU Student Artwork
Seven artists who currently attend HBCUs will have their custom artwork displayed in-arena, at the players’ hotel, on the broadcast and across NBA social platforms ahead of and during NBA All-Star 2021.  The seven students, who represent Howard University, Albany State University and Florida A&M University, respectively, created HBCU-inspired art with different themes. Five of the artists have been invited as virtual fans for the game, while two will attend in-arena.

NBA Referees
This year, the All-Star Game officiating crew will be comprised of three proud HBCU alumni. Norfolk State graduate Tom Washington, in his 30th season, will be officiating his third All-Star Game; Southern University graduate Courtney Kirkland, in his 21st season, will make his second All-Star appearance; and Clark Atlanta University graduate Tony Brown, in his 19th season, will be a part of his second All-Star Game crew.

In-Arena Fans
We have invited nearly 1500 frontline workers, community partners and HBCU alumni, students and faculty to attend NBA All-Star 2021 at the State Farm Arena on Sunday, March 7. Seating will be socially-distanced throughout the arena in groupings of two-to-four people from the same household in accordance with the League Health & Safety protocols.

Broadcast and Production Elements
As part of the game production, 58 cameras will be positioned around the arena, including in the practice court and locker room. Courtside Cam and Supra Cam will bring fans closer to the game through unique angles from courtside and above the baseline. Select players, coaches and the referee crew chief will be mic’d up throughout the night, providing fans the opportunity to hear exclusive on-the-court action.

TNT will exclusively televise NBA All-Star 2021 where HBCUs will be honored throughout the broadcast with features, interviews, tributes and musical performances.  Coverage will include segments highlighting notable celebrity HBCU alumni and vignettes spotlighting members of the NBA family, including league staff, referees, current players and NBA legends who attended HBCUs. NBA League Pass will air all NBA All-Star 2021 events internationally.

Oncourt Player Interviews
During Sunday’s events, players will conduct their oncourt interviews wearing Beats custom headphones, designed by Elijah Rutland, a participant in the “Beats Black Creator” program and a student at Florida A&M University. Throughout the last ten years, Beats has become a leading storyteller in sport, music and culture. And as the brand continues to expand their breadth of content, Beats has partnered with Black creatives at HBCUs to give them a blank canvas to do what they do best, create. NBA All-Star 2021 participants will additionally receive a set of the Beats custom headphones featuring Elijah’s designs.

Jersey Patches
For the fourth consecutive season (since NBA All-Star 2017), Jordan Brand will outfit the league’s brightest stars during the 2021 NBA All-Star Game in Atlanta. The All-Star uniforms will feature jersey patches celebrating the Thurgood Marshall College Fund and UNCF. As previously announced, both organizations are among the NBA All-Star 2021 beneficiaries. Additionally, UNCF is a key strategic partner of the Jordan Wings program in the U.S and the Thurgood Marshall College Fund is a NIKE, Inc. grant recipient which supports scholarships at HBCUs.

HBCU Retail Merchandise
The NBA partnered with two minority-owned organizations – PUPIL Apparel and Support Black Colleges (SBC) – to create NBA All-Star merchandise that celebrates HBCUs. PUPIL, a 100% minority-owned licensee, is selling 2021 NBA All-Star and HBCU co-branded hoodies and t-shirts, with all NBA proceeds from the sales donated directly to participating HBCUs. The items are available for purchase through Pupilapparel.com, Atlanta Hawks retail and online stores, and NBAStore.com. SBC, founded by two Howard University graduates, is selling an official 2021 NBA All-Star t-shirt that will be available for retail on SupportBlackColleges.org and Atlanta Hawks. All NBA proceeds will be donated to a The Social Change Fund. NBA players and head coaches participating in 2021 NBA All-Star will additionally receive SBC custom 2021 NBA All-Star hoodies. The hoodies for All-Star starters and reserves will feature the respective player’s career accolades adorned on the sleeve (not for sale).

As previously announced, Clark Atlanta University Philharmonic Society Choir will perform an original rendition of “Lift Every Voice and Sing” prior to tip-off and will be introduced by three-time GRAMMY® Award-winner and FAMU alumnus Common.  In addition, the nationally-recognized Grambling State University Tiger Marching Band and Florida A&M University Marching 100 will play during NBA All-Star player introductions from their respective historical campuses.

Throughout the game, the Brothers of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity – Sigma Alpha Chapter at Southern University and the Brothers of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity – Alpha Rho Chapter at Morehouse College, who are members of the Divine Nine fraternities and sororities –  a prestigious group of nine historically Black Greek letter organizations – will introduce their respective step teams from Southern University and Morehouse College.

GRAMMY Award-winner Anthony Hamilton will perform his song “Fine Again” in recognition of frontline workers and everyone affected by the COVID-19 pandemic for the NBA Cares tribute.

NBA Family’s $3 Million Commitment
As previously announced, the NBA family will collectively provide more than $3 million in initial support to the HBCU community through the Thurgood Marshall College Fund (TMCF), UNCF (United Negro College Fund), National Association for Equal Opportunity (NAFEO) and Direct Relief’s Fund for Health Equity.  As part of this year’s game format, the two teams will play for either TMCF (comprised of 47 publicly-supported HBCUs) or UNCF (consisting of 37 member colleges) as their respective All-Star beneficiary, which will provide scholarship funding to further HBCU students’ higher education.  More information around the format of the All-Star Game, skills competitions and additional elements that will support HBCUs are available here.