NBA superstar Chris Paul is set to produce a docu-series on the struggles that historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) face when recruiting high schools students, according to New York Daily News.
The series will follow HBCU schools during the 2020-2021 season as they compete with bigger colleges and universities for top basketball prospects, reports Deadline. The Oklahoma Thunder star had a chance to attend Winston-Salem State University, an HBCU, but chose to take his talents to Wake Forest instead.
“HBCUs historically have been at a competitive disadvantage with their basketball programs facing many challenges with funding, recruitment, misperceptions and exposure,” Paul said in a statement. “With the current racial awakening in our country prompting young athletes to look at where they play, it’s now more important than ever to shine a light on HBCUs and showcase their value in sports and society.”
There are currently only two HBCU graduates playing in the NBA — Rockets forward Robert Covington from Tennessee State and 76ers forward Kyle O’Quinn from Norfolk State.
“There was an HBCU right in my back yard,” Paul told Deadline. “For some reason, I just didn’t really think of it. Today, kids’ mindsets have changed. We hope that this show will keep that conversation going.”
Paul, who donated $25,000 to Winston-Salem, says everyone in his family attended an HBCU. “Everybody in my family went to HBCUs except for me,” Paul said during All-Star weekend. “So, I understand the importance of them. They don’t always get the same funding that a lot of other schools get, so I’m trying to bring a lot of that knowledge to the forefront because it’s education.”
“HBCUs have long been a passion for Chris and he has demonstrated a willingness and commitment to help these schools overcome the obstacles they face in funding and national awareness,” said Ron Yassen, Roadside Entertainment founding partner. “As young athletes in high school and at the college level are considering taking their talents to HBCUs, it’s important to document this and share their stories with a wide audience.”