Uncasville, Conn. (Jul 28, 2021) – The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame announced today a newly developed collegiate event in partnership with NBA veteran and 2021 Western Conference Champion Chris Paul. The Chris Paul HBCU Tip-Off will take place November 22 and 23 at Mohegan Sun Arena with four Historically Black Colleges and Universities participating. The two-day double header will feature Morehouse College, Virginia Union University, West Virginia State University, and Winston-Salem State University.
The Hall of Fame and the Paul Family share several unique ties to the participating institutions. Virginia Union is the alma mater of Class of 2021 enshrinee Ben Wallace and West Virginia State produced Class of 2003 Hall of Famer Earl Lloyd. Class of 1982 Hall of Fame coach Clarence Gaines coached at Winston-Salem State for 47 years, an HBCU Chris Paul and several of his family members have attended. Morehouse College has a very strong Journalism and Sports Program, which has documented the historical impact of HBCUs on the game of basketball.
“Chris Paul has shown unwavering support for HBCUs and brought an awareness to creating opportunities for the student-athletes at these institutions,” said John L. Doleva, President and CEO of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. “The Hall of Fame is proud to share in Chris’s vision and bring this event to life at beautiful Mohegan Sun Arena.”
“I appreciate the collaboration of the Basketball Hall of Fame and Mohegan Sun in hosting this inaugural event,” said Chris Paul, 11-time NBA All-Star and Phoenix Suns point guard. “With several family members and friends who have attended HBCUs, I know first-hand how important they are to our community and country’s future. I’m excited to offer an elevated experience to the players and fans this November.”
“We’re honored to be able to host this exciting new 2-day college basketball event, in partnership with Chris Paul and our long-time partners with the Basketball Hall of Fame,” said Dave Martinelli, Chief Marketing Officer for Mohegan Gaming & Entertainment (MGE). “HBCUs across this country are invaluable and produce so many rising stars in all walks of life. We can’t wait to welcome these four schools to our resort beginning November 22nd.”
Paul continues to be a vocal champion of HBCUs and is working toward a degree at Winston-Salem State University. He partnered with Harvard Business School to bring its Entertainment, Media and Sports program to North Carolina A&T and future HBCUs, creating the Special Topics in Management course to develop a pipeline for students pursuing careers in those industries. He raised awareness through his HBCU Sneaker Tour and launched HBCU voting initiatives to encourage students to vote this past election. He recently executive produced ESPN’s Why Not Us, the series taking an in-depth look at the NCCU men’s basketball team and what it means to play for an HBCU. Paul partnered with Sour Patch Kids and the Thurgood Marshall College Fund to create The Mischief for Change Scholarship, a college scholarship fund with a $1 million commitment over the next five years for students attending HBCUs.
The Basketball Hall of Fame is mindful and appreciative of the contributions Black athletes, Black coaches and HBCUs have made to the game of basketball since its inception. For several years, the Hall has incorporated the Early African American Pioneers committee into its Enshrinement election process, with a mission to acknowledge and honor those who were the greatest players of their time and created opportunities for future generations. Several Hall of Fame inductees have ties to HBCUs including Nat Clifton, Xavier University of Louisiana (HOF Class of 2014); Sam Jones, North Carolina Central University (HOF Class of 1984); John McLendon, Hampton University, Tennessee State, North Carolina Central (HOF Class of 1979 & 2016); Earl Monroe, Winston-Salem State (HOF Class 1990); and Willis Reed, Grambling State (HOF Class of 1982). To learn more about some of these unique contributors to the game, tune into the Hall of Fame’s podcast titled “Liberty, Justice and Ball” which serves as a platform for Hall of Famers to share their life’s experiences, especially at the intersection of basketball and social justice.
The Chris Paul HBCU Tip-Off is one event in the Hall of Fame’s series of collegiate events, which continues to grow in an effort to celebrate the game outside the museum walls. The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame is proud to continue its relationship with Learfield for sponsorship representation of its portfolio of collegiate events and Position Sports in an event operations and media relations capacity.
Ticket information, game times and television broadcast details and will be released at a later date. As the health and safety of the athletes, fans and staff is of the utmost importance, the Basketball Hall of Fame will continue to monitor the COVID-19 situation closely in the coming months and provide updates as needed. For more information, please visit www.hoophall.com.
Quotes from Participating Head Coaches
"We are very honored and grateful to be playing in this historic inaugural event. We would like to thank Chris Paul, the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame, Mohegan Sun, and all of the other sponsors for giving us this amazing opportunity. The CP3 HBCU Tip-off hosted by the Basketball Hall of Fame gives our scholar-athletes the opportunity to experience something they will never forget. The Maroon Tiger Nation is looking forward to competing against high caliber NCAA HBCU basketball programs.” - Douglas Whittler, Morehouse
“This is a great honor to be invited to the Chris Paul HBCU Tip-Off with some of the best HBCUs in the country. It will also be a great opportunity for our young men to tour the Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Mass right after my teammate and Virginia Union's very own Ben Wallace goes into the Hall of Fame in September. I would like to thank Chris Paul for continuing to give HBCUs the opportunity to showcase our prestigious schools on the biggest stage.” - Jay Butler, Virginia Union
"First, I want to thank Chris Paul for his continued support and promotion of HBCUs. It is truly an honor to be invited to the first Chris Paul HBCU Tip-Off hosted by the Basketball Hall of Fame! We owe this privilege to the great players from WVSU who came before us and in particular the trailblazing NBA pioneer, Mr. Earl Lloyd. Participating in this event will be something our players will remember for the rest of their lives!” - Bryan Poore, West Virginia State University
“Winston-Salem State University's Men's Basketball program is humbled and honored to accept the invitation to this HBCU event. I view this creation as a historic opportunity for all involved. We give extreme gratitude to CJ Paul, Chris Paul, the Foundation, Mohegan Sun, and the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. We are privileged to be included, and we understand this is an honor not to take for granted.” – Cleo Hill Jr., Winston-Salem State
About Mohegan Sun Arena:
Mohegan Sun Arena is now ranked consistently among the top venues in the world according to Billboard Magazine, Pollstar and Venues Now and is also consistently ranked top 15 in the “World for All Size Venues.” The award–winning venue was named “#1 Social Media Venue in the World” in 2016 and is a seven–time Academy of Country Music Awards (ACM) national award–winner for “Arena of the Year,” with the most recent recognition coming in 2019. For more information and updates on Mohegan Sun Arena, call 1.888.226.7711 or visit Mohegan Sun.
About Chris Paul:
Chris Paul is an eleven-time NBA All-Star and two-time Olympic Gold medalist. Paul currently plays with the Phoenix Suns and previously played with the Oklahoma City Thunder, Houston Rockets, Los Angeles Clippers, and New Orleans Hornets. Off the court, he’s a father, husband, entrepreneur, activist, and philanthropist. He has served as the President of the National Basketball Players Association since 2013. His business partnerships include the Jordan Brand, State Farm Insurance, Turner Impact Capital, Muzik, WTRMLN WTR, Beyond Meat, PlayersTV, Uncharted Power, Calm, Fanatics, Knowable, goPuff, Panini Cards, and more. In his home state of North Carolina, he is part owner of the Winston-Salem Dash and owner of the CP3 Basketball Academy. He is the co-founder of Go Hoop Day, a day for celebrating the game of basketball worldwide, and he co-hosts The Baha Mar Showdown, the annual celebrity golf showcase created by Turner Sports and CAA Sports. His production company, Ohh Dip!!! Productions, creates content across multiple platforms and Paul has executive produced projects including Chapter 3, Crossroads, The Game Changers, Blackballed, Why Not Us: NC Central Men’s Basketball, The Day Sports Stood Still, American Sole, and The Chris Paul Project. Ohh Dip!!! co-produces Bloomberg Quicktake’s How I Got Here, an in-depth weekly one-on-one interview series hosted by Paul and debuting this fall. His upcoming memoir, Sixty-One: Life Lessons from Papa, On and Off the Court, is a powerful and unexpected memoir of family, faith, tragedy, and life's most important lessons. The Chris Paul Family Foundation continues to provide resources that enrich and strengthen underserved communities across the country. Paul co-launched the Social Change Fund United dedicated to investing in and supporting organizations focused on empowering communities of color and advocating for the human rights of all black lives. His philanthropic efforts have earned him the 2016 ESPYs “Humanitarian of the Year” award, 2016 Mannie Jackson Human Spirit Award and the NBA Community Assist Award five times.
About the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame:
Located in Springfield, Mass., the city where basketball was born, the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame is an independent non-profit 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to promoting, preserving and celebrating the game of basketball at every level – men and women, amateur and professional players, coaches and contributors, both domestically and internationally. The Hall of Fame museum is home to more than 400 inductees and over 40,000 square feet of basketball history. Nearly 200,000 people visit the Hall of Fame museum each year to learn about the game, experience the interactive exhibits and test their skills on the Jerry Colangelo "Court of Dreams." Best known for its annual marquee Enshrinement Ceremony honoring the game’s elite, the Hall of Fame also operates over 70 high school and collegiate competitions annually throughout the country and abroad. For more information on the Basketball Hall of Fame organization, its museum and events, visit www.hoophall.com, follow @hoophall or call 1-877-4HOOPLA.
Hall of Fame Media Contact: Nicole Taylor,Position Sports[email protected]