Kamala Harris and Michael B. Jordan will open NBA All-Star game

The NBA event is generating $3 million for HBCUs through donations to scholarship funds

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The NBA All-Star game will kick off Sunday with a “special conversation” between actor Michael B. Jordan and Vice President Kamala Harris.

The star-studded event will go down at the State Farm Arena in Atlanta on March 7, with on-court action beginning at 6:30 p.m. ET on TNT. The game will differ from previous ones as the arena will reportedly be largely empty because of the coronavirus pandemic. 

The NBA posted a teaser of the Harris/Jordan chat on Twitter early Sunday, showing the VP in front of an American flag. Details about what the pair will discuss have not been revealed but HBCUs may be one of the topics. 

As part of this year’s game, the NBA and National Basketball Players Association (NBPA) announced that they will commit more than  $2.5 million in funds and resources toward Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and support awareness efforts around equity and access to COVID-19 care, relief and vaccines, according to a press release.

Read More: NBA All-star weekend to be held in ATL on one night for first time

As theGRIO previously noted, the All-Star Game is generating $3 million for Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) through donations to scholarship funds. But the actual value to those schools will far exceed that influx of cash, with almost every All-Star element set to showcase and celebrate HBCU traditions and culture.

Harris is the first HBCU graduate in a top position at the White House. Jordan didn’t attend an HBCU, but when he launched the Hoop Dreams Classic last year in his hometown of Newark, NJ, he praised the institutions for helping to “shape me into the man I am today.” He called the tournament “a way to celebrate the value of community, education, and Black college experiences,” per Forbes.

The All-Star game will feature performances by HBCU marching bands, step teams, glee clubs and choirs, per Variety. The Clark Atlanta University Philharmonic Society Choir will serve up a virtual performance of “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” which the NBA says “will honor NAACP leader and Black national anthem songwriter James Weldon Johnson, who is also a Clark Atlanta alumnus.” 

The Grambling State University Tiger Marching Band and Florida A&M University Marching 100 will perform remotely during NBA All-Star player introductions.

“Throughout the game, members of the Divine Nine fraternities and sororities, a prestigious group of nine historically Black Greek letter organizations, will introduce Atlanta’s most reputable step teams from Spelman College and Morehouse College,” the NBA said in a statement.

Read More: Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons to miss All-Star Game over contact tracing

Music legend Gladys Knight, an Atlanta native and graduate of Shaw University — one of the nation’s oldest HBCUs — will sing the U.S. national anthem live from State Farm Arena, while Alessia Cara will follow up with a performance of the Canadian national anthem from a remote location in Toronto. 

TNT’s NBA All-Star coverage will begin at 5 p.m. ET with TNT NBA Tip-Off presented by CarMax, followed by the Taco Bell Skills Challenge and MTN DEW 3-Point Contest starting at 6:30 p.m. ET.  

Coverage of the official 70th NBA All-Star Game will begin at 8 p.m. ET, with AT&T Slam Dunk taking place at halftime. The game will follow the same format as last year, with the teams competing to win each quarter and playing to a Final Target Score during the untimed fourth quarter.

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