NBA X HBCU Fellowship Program Makes Dreams Come True

Frederick Slayers talking to college students of the HBCU Fellowship Program. (Picture by way of Collective Gallery)

New York “I by no means thought I would be on this constructing,” murmured MacKay Hill, a scholar from Morgan State College as he took the elevator on the NBA workplace in Manhattan. How did he get right here?

In October, the NBA and NBA Basis Announce new applications Designed to create higher alternatives for undergraduate and graduate college students from Historic Black School and Universities (HBCU). Hill was one in all 60 candidates chosen for the inaugural HBCU Fellowship Program.

Those that have been accepted acquired these positions in a extremely aggressive course of that concerned greater than 2,700 candidates. Program individuals shall be positioned in a paid 10-week summer time internship that offers with the enterprise facet of basketball. College students will go on to work in numerous positions inside the league workplace or instantly with an NBA or WNBA franchise. Every chosen scholar can even be matched with an worker mentor for the league or crew.

The scholars underwent a two-day orientation that included a message from NBA Commissioner Adam Silver, group bonding workouts, panel discussions from present and former NBA gamers, skilled headshots and far more.

Among the many college students, an environment of jubilation and the sight of many smiles from ear to ear confirmed that the joy within the air was enchanting. Younger, excited and prepared for the challenges forward, these college students are actually within the league – a dream many youngsters dream about after they first dribble basketball at a younger age.

NBA Basis CEO Greg Taylor speaks to the viewers. (Picture by way of Collective Gallery)

The administrators of the NBA x HBCU Fellowship shared that feeling of pleasure. Whereas it took onerous work to get so far, it was additionally only the start of their profession experiences.

Talking to the scholars, Greg Taylor, CEO of the NBA, reminded them of this.

β€œIn a room stuffed with distinction, how do you separate your self? You made it out of two,700 functions, congratulate your self, and have fun, however it is time to work onerous,” he mentioned. “Now only the start of your journey.”

College students additionally heard from Oris Stewart, the NBA’s chief personnel and inclusion officer, who mentioned:

β€œI’m proud to welcome the primary class of the HBCU Fellowship, with hundreds of candidates, and it’s a actually aggressive course of, however you made it,” Stewart mentioned. “We have discovered the very best expertise who may help us advance our recreation, develop our enterprise, and assist us be a unique group sooner or later.”

The joy continued all through the day and featured a star-studded panel dialogue. The panel, led by Lauren Gross sales of the NBA Basis, consisted of Dr. Valerie Daniels-Carter, Dr. Harry Williams, former NBA participant Kyle Aucoin (HBCU grad), present Los Angeles Clippers striker Robert Covington (HBCU grad) and president of the NBPA. / Pelican Guard CJ McCollum. They’ve talked to college students about every part from private experiences, how one can navigate the NBA circuits, and the significance of remembering their distinctive background at HBCU whereas asking questions from those that have been as soon as of their place.

Pelican guard CJ McCollum talking throughout a panel dialogue. (Picture by way of Collective Gallery)

NBA.com spoke with CJ McCollum and Kyle O’Quinn about being within the NBA X HBCU Fellowship Program.

(Editor’s be aware: The next dialog has been shortened and edited.)


NBA.com: As president of the Nationwide Basketball Gamers Affiliation, how necessary is it to you to be right here at the moment and converse to the inaugural HBCU Fellowship class?

CJ McCollum: It was essential for me to talk up and see some younger folks — to grasp what they wish to obtain. I’m grateful for the partnership that the NBA has with HBCU and the way we will encourage them, but in addition present them with teaching alternatives. Certainly one of our targets is to extend sources that they won’t usually have.

You talked about throughout the panel dialogue that breakouts come from uncomfortable conditions, how can these college students navigate these new and unfamiliar conditions?

It is rather necessary that these younger women and men are positioned in rooms the place they aren’t usually positioned, and are uncomfortable – this creates extra alternatives for progress. To go to completely different markets they’ve by no means been to earlier than – this places them in a greater place to succeed down the street, it higher prepares them to carry these expertise again into their HBCUs and have a CV builder they will use and rely on shifting ahead.

Kyle, as a Norfolk State graduate who performed 9 seasons within the NBA, how did you see your self among the many college students within the crowd at the moment?

Kyle Aucoin: Seeing these youngsters at the moment, it made me flashback to 11, 12 years in the past. It was like, man, I do not know what my future goes to appear like – however I simply wish to put myself in place to have the very best probability of getting one. It was nice to see these younger women and men taking that first step within the skilled world at the moment.

I spoke to the scholars at the moment about the way you knew you’d achieve success no matter basketball, how did HBCU put together you with such confidence?

Having the ability to discover my independence at HBCU simply prepares you for far more than simply being a scholar. The group helps you so properly…I knew it was inconceivable to make these folks happy with every part I made a decision to do after my time in Norfolk.

College students of the 2022 HBCU fellowship class. (Picture by way of Collective Gallery)


NBA.com additionally spoke to among the college students about their alternative of the HBCU fellowship program and what they hope to realize from their expertise.

NBA.com: Inform me, how did you are feeling as one of many 60 candidates chosen?

McKay Hill (Morgan State College): I could not imagine it, I had by no means been chosen for one thing like this earlier than. I used to be working in a grocery store a yr in the past and thought I’d keep there till I am 55, it is a dream I had, it went from fantasy to tangible, right here I’m. (Hill will practice with the Indiana Pacers and transfer between completely different divisions.)

How has the expertise been to date and what do you hope to realize out of your 10-week coaching?

Jevonne Barrett (Central State College): My expertise at the moment was nice, it appears surreal now. From the internship, I wish to know extra in regards to the NBA and its alternatives, I wish to earn extra by connecting with my relationships in Cleveland. (Barrett will practice with the Cavaliers of their Info and Know-how division.)


These 60 college students characterize the NBA, their universities, the organizations they work in, and most significantly, themselves. The inaugural class of the NBA X HBCU Fellowship Program are pioneers identified for setting requirements for future courses to comply with.