Grambling and Southern to play in NBA HBCU Classic on 18 February 2023

Courtesy of Brian Howard, Senior Associate AD for Athletic Communications, Grambling State Athletics

The Grambling State University and Southern University men’s basketball programs have been selected to play in the NBA HBCU Classic 2023, the NBA announced today. The Southwestern Athletic Conference matchup will take place on Saturday, Feb. 18 at 4 p.m. ET/2 p.m. MT at the University of Utah’s Jon M. Huntsman Center in Salt Lake City as part of NBA All-Star 2023. The second NBA HBCU Classic will be simulcast on TNT, ESPN2 and NBA TV. 

NBA legends Bob Love (Southern alum) and Willis Reed (Grambling State alum) have been named honorary captains of the 2023 NBA HBCU Classic. Love and Reed will represent their alma maters leading up to the game. 

“My pathway from Southern to the NBA has opened countless doors for me,” said Love. “I am proud to support the NBA in using the game of basketball to celebrate the rich history of HBCUs and drive opportunity for the next generation of leaders both on and off the court.” 

“I credit my career in part to my time at Grambling State,” said Reed. “The HBCU Classic will provide what is to most a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to play on the NBA stage and serve as a platform for those interested in the business side of the game to gain industry insight and make lasting connections.” 

The teams were selected in collaboration with the Southwestern Athletic Conference. The NBA HBCU Classic continues the league’s ongoing, year-round commitment to advancing educational, career and economic opportunities in partnership with HBCU institutions as well as increasing support and awareness for HBCU athletics. 

Earlier this year, the NBA hosted its first-ever HBCU Classic as part of NBA All-Star 2022 in Cleveland. Classic participants Howard University and Morgan State University both received donations of $100,000 to support the student experience. Over the course of the week, 11 HBCU students served as paid NBA interns across disciplines as part of the league’s HBCU Event Shadow program. During NBA All-Star, more than $1 million was contributed to support the HBCU community through the Thurgood Marshall College Fund (TMCF), United Negro College Fund (UNCF) and academic institutions. This summer, 60 

students participated in the league’s inaugural NBA HBCU Fellowship program, which provides career development opportunities in the business of basketball for undergraduate and graduate students from HBCUs. The NBA family has annually supported HBCUs through additional scholarship programs, business case competitions, mentorship, networking and internship opportunities since the NBA’s involvement in the founding of TMCF more than 35 years ago. 

“We are extremely excited and honored to represent Grambling State University at the NBA HBCU Classic,” said Grambling Vice President for Intercollegiate Athletics Trayvean Scott. “Grambling State is an iconic name brand. We knew when this opportunity was presented to us, it was the right decision to not only bring SWAC basketball to the NBA All-Star, but to continue to bring awareness and increased support to HBCU athletics.” 

“I am very excited for our student-athletes, fans, supporters and alumni that we will take part in the second NBA HBCU Classic during NBA All-Star,” said Southern Director of Athletics, Roman Banks. “This allows Southern University’s brand to be showcased globally and we appreciate the NBA’s commitment to supporting our HBCU institutions. We are excited for everyone to see one of the great and historic rivalries between Grambling State and Southern University and to showcase the excellence and talent that has come to define student-athletes from the SWAC and HBCUs.” 

Tickets for the NBA HBCU Classic 2023 will go on sale in December. To stay up to date on event information regarding the Classic and NBA All-Star 2023, click here. To learn more about the NBA’s commitment to HBCUs, click here.

About Grambling State University 
Located in Grambling, Louisiana, Grambling State University is a historically black university that was founded in 1901. The institution has been accredited by SACSCOC, 13 associations, and in all programs required by the Louisiana Board of Regents. A member of the University of Louisiana System, Grambling State University has the academic strengths of a major university with the benefits of a small college. Offering 46 undergraduate and graduate academic programs, the 590-acre campus is home to world-class athletics, an internationally renowned marching band, and vibrant student life that enables our scholars to grow and learn in a positive environment. For more information, visit   

About Southern University 
Southern University was founded in 1880 and moved to Baton Rouge Campus in 1914. Southern University Athletics competes in one of the premier HBCU conferences in the country, The Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC) and currently ranks among the elite in the terms of HBCU alumni playing with professional sports teams. Supporting over 16 NCAA Collegiate Sports, men’s competition is offered in Baseball, Basketball, Cross Country, Football, Indoor Track and Field and Outdoor Track and Field. Women’s competition is offered in the sports of Basketball, Bowling, Cheerleading, Cross Country, Indoor Track and Field, Outdoor Track and Field, Soccer, Softball, Tennis and Volleyball. For more information, visit

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