NBA All-Star 2021 will shine a spotlight on Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) in the United States.
As the NBA announced prior to Sunday's events, the NBA family and some of its partners will provide more than $3 million in initial support to the HBCU community through the Thurgood Marshall College Fund, United Negro College Fund, National Association for Equal Opportunity and Direct Relief's Fund for Health Equity.
The Thurgood Marshall College Fund and United Negro College Fund will also take centre stage during the game itself. Whereas Team LeBron will play for the Thurgood Marshall College Fund, Team Durant will play for the United Negro College Fund.
During his media availability ahead of the game, Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard talked about how important it is to have HBCUs at the forefront of All-Star Weekend.
"I love the fact that HBCUs are being highlighted," the six-time All-Star said. "I think over the last year, there's been a lot more conversation about the top athletes attending HBCUs and considering them.
"I think a huge reason why you don't see them being considered by the top players is because of the lack of resources and facilities aren't on the same level of some of these power conference schools, so it's not as appealing.
"I think this is a start, with the support of the NBA, being included in things like this, kind of being put on the radar of more kids because of how many kids follow the NBA, is definitely a positive step."
Damian Lillard on how impactful it is to have HBCUs at the forefront of #NBAAllStar weekend this year.#NBAAllStarMedia presented by AT&T- NBA (@NBA) March 7, 2021
ALL OF ALL-STAR IN ONE NIGHT... TONIGHT on TNT pic.twitter.com/h4v0PT5Iuu
Click here to learn more about the beneficiaries of the 2021 NBA All-Star Game.