History will be made tonight as the NBA prepares for its 70th All-Star Game. For some players, such as Portland Trail Blazers wing Robert Covington, there will be a special significance. This year’s event will put extra emphasis on recognizing HBCUs, also known as Historically Black Colleges and Universities, with the National Basketball Player’s Association pledging to generate $3 million, as well as the exposure that comes from the NBA’s platform. According to Paul Marshall of OPB, Covington sees his involvement as part of his legacy.
“It’s beyond important. I’ve built a legacy and impacted lives,” Covington said.
“To do what I’m doing and to have the resources and the people that I’m connected with at such an illustrious university. I’m truly thankful for that,” he added. “I’m still heavily involved and what I’m about to do next is life-changing not only for the school and university.”
Covington is the NBA’s only active player to have graduated from an HBCU. Tonight, the Tennessee State University graduate will be participating in the Skills Challenge. As Covington notes, he’s the “lone survivor” on that end.
“It resonates with me every day. TSU has been amazing for me and my life. It’s something that’s truly meaningful to me,” he said.
“I’m the only HBCU alumni in the NBA currently for the last couple of years. I’m the lone survivor. It means a lot to me. With everything that’s going on towards HBCUs, it’s only right that I was a part of it,” Covington concluded.
To put things into further perspective, the last actual All-Star the NBA had that came from an HBCU came all the way back in 2006, with former Pistons big Ben Wallace.
Covington will star in this afternoon’s fun, as will fellow Blazers players Damian Lillard and Anfernee Simons.