Suns guard Chris Paul gives HBCUs a national stage with tournament at Footprint Center

The inaugural Boost Mobile HBCU Challenge featuring Norfolk State, Morgan State, Hampton and Grambling State at Footprint Center was an important event to Phoenix Suns guard Chris Paul. (Photo by Harrison Zhang/Cronkite News)

Grambling State took a photo with Paul before its first game at the HBCU Challenge. (Photo by Harrison Zhang/Cronkite News)

Norfolk State and Hampton tipped off the first game of the HBCU Challenge, continuing their rivalry. (Photo by Harrison Zhang/Cronkite News)

Morgan State, which included senior Sherwyn Devonish, was among four universities that played at Footprint Center. (Photo by Harrison Zhang/Cronkite News)

Although Hampton lost both of the games it played, competition was intense. Here Pirates guard Russell Dean attacks the basket during the HBCU Challenge. (Photo by Harrison Zhang/Cronkite News)

The HBCU Challenge was played at Footprint Center in an effort to promote visibility. (Photo by Harrison Zhang/Cronkite News)

Norfolk State went 2-0 during the HBCU Challenge, which was broadcast on the ESPN family of networks to elevate the visibility of Historically Black Colleges and Universities. (Photo by Harrison Zhang/Cronkite News)

Paul sponsored the HBCU Challenge and has long been an advocate for Historically Black Colleges and Universities. (Photo by Harrison Zhang/Cronkite News)

PHOENIX – Chris Paul sporting athletic wear from HBCUs is a familiar site. His advocacy for Historically Black Colleges and Universities continued recently at Footprint Center where he hosted the Boost Mobile HBCU Challenge.

“I’m so excited for the chance to give these players the opportunity to experience something not usually available to HBCU student-athletes and compete on a national stage,” Paul said in a news release.

Hampton, Norfolk State, Morgan State and Grambling State faced off in a round robin format at the Suns’ arena with Paul in attendance. The first day’s slate of games were carried on ESPN2 and ESPNU.

The overall goal was to increase the visibility of HBCUs by hosting them in an NBA arena and on national television.


Norfolk State went 2-0 during the HBCU Challenge, while Morgan State and Grambling State split their games. Hampton lost both games it played.

This competition followed the Chris Paul HBCU Tip Off at the Mohegan Sun Arena on Nov. 22-23, featuring Morehouse College, Virginia Union, West Virginia State and Winston-Salem State.

Paul recently said he was taking a class at Winston-Salem State to study for a bachelor’s degree in communications. Both of his parents attended school there.

Harrison Zhang heh-rih-sun z-hang
Sports Visual Journalist, Phoenix

Harrison Zhang expects to graduate in May 2022 with a master’s degree in mass communication. Zhang, who is a digital media intern with Sun Devil Athletics, is working for the Phoenix sports bureau.

Leave a Comment