Skip to main content


NEW YORK, Nov. 7, 2023 – The NBA today announced that the Virginia Union University Panthers (VUU) and Winston-Salem State University Rams (WSSU) men's basketball programs have been selected to compete in the 2024 NBA HBCU Classic presented by AT&T.  The Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association (CIAA) matchup will take place on Saturday, Feb. 17 at Gainbridge Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, Indiana as part of NBA All-Star 2024.  The third NBA HBCU Classic will be simulcast on TNT, ESPN2 and NBA TV.

"We're excited to bring these two storied programs and conference rivals together to compete in our third HBCU Classic as part of NBA All-Star 2024," said NBA Deputy Commissioner and Chief Operating Officer Mark Tatum.  "The level of competition during the previous two Classic games set a high standard and showcased the tremendous pride of the HBCU community.  We look forward to celebrating Virginia Union University and Winston-Salem State University on one of the NBA's marquee stages."

The teams were selected in collaboration with the CIAA.  The 2024 NBA HBCU Classic presented by AT&T 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.

"We are thrilled the CIAA will be represented during this year's NBA All-Star weekend," said CIAA Commissioner Jacqie McWilliams Parker.  "This is an amazing opportunity to give expanded exposure for our DII student-athletes, our member institutions and the HBCU Community.  We look forward to bringing the talent, culture, and excellence of the CIAA to the grandest stage of the game."

"We are very excited about the invitation to participate in the 2024 NBA HBCU Classic.  Virginia Union University and Winston-Salem State University boast strong winning traditions and have produced multiple NBA players and Hall of Famers," said Virginia Union University Vice President for intercollegiate athletics Joseph Taylor.  "This opportunity given by the NBA truly strengthens both the school's brand and also highlights our HBCU culture.  Virginia Union Athletics thanks the NBA for this opportunity to highlight and showcase our student-athletes and performers."

"Thank you to the CIAA and the NBA for selecting the WSSU Men's Basketball team under the leadership of Cleo Hill Jr. to represent the Southern Division of the CIAA in this prestigious event," said Winston-Salem State University Athletic Director Etienne Thomas.  "This opportunity provides visibility for our student-athletes to showcase their athletic ability on the biggest stage available to professional athletes, which many of them aspire to be in the future, while also celebrating who they are as Division II student-athletes achieving academic and championship success, as we prepare them to graduate as champions and depart WSSU to serve their communities.  We have a legacy and tradition of excellence and championships at WSSU with a program that includes the Legendary CE "Big House" Gaines, Earl "The Pearl" Monroe, Cleo Hill Sr, and many others who laid the Championship foundation for our current student-athletes to follow.  We look forward to painting the City Red with our Championship team, world-renowned Powerhouse Cheerleaders, and the #1 ESPN College band-the Red Sea of Sound (RSOS)."

Earlier this year, during NBA All-Star 2023 in Utah, HBCU programming included the HBCU Event Intern Program, where 13 students served as paid interns across different NBA disciplines to gain experience working in sports and learn from NBA staff.  The students also participated in several other career development events and opportunities.  Additionally, over the summer, 74 students participated in the NBA HBCU Fellowship program, which provides career development opportunities in the business of basketball for undergraduate and graduate students from HBCUs.  The NBA family annually supports HBCUs through additional scholarships, programs, business case competitions, mentorship, networking and more through support of the Thurgood Marshall College Fund (TMCF), United Negro College Fund (UNCF) and academic institutions.  The Feb. 17 match-up between Virginia Union and Winston-Salem State will feature an afternoon of competitive on-court action and band performances celebrating HBCU pride.  Additional programming to support HBCUs at All-Star 2024 will be announced at a later date.

Tickets for the 2024 NBA HBCU Classic presented by AT&T are on sale now.  Purchase tickets here while they last.  Learn more about the NBA's commitment to HBCUs here.

# # #

About the NBA

The National Basketball Association (NBA) is a global sports and media organization with the mission to inspire and connect people everywhere through the power of basketball.  Built around five professional sports leagues:  the NBA, WNBA, NBA G League, NBA 2K League and Basketball Africa League, the NBA has established a major international presence with games and programming available in 214 countries and territories in more than 50 languages, and merchandise for sale in more than 200 countries and territories on all seven continents.  NBA rosters at the start of the 2023-24 season featured a record 125 international players from 40 countries and territories.  NBA Digital's assets include NBA TV,, the NBA App and NBA League Pass.  The NBA has created one of the largest social media communities in the world, with 2.1 billion likes and followers globally across all leagues, team and player platforms.  NBA Cares, the NBA's global social responsibility platform, partners with renowned community-based organizations around the world to address important social issues in the areas of education, inclusion, youth and family development, and health and wellness.

About the CIAA: Founded in 1912, the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association (CIAA) is the first, and longest running, African American athletic conference in the U.S. and one of the most recognized conferences in Division II. The CIAA conducts 14 championships attended by more than 150,000 fans from around the country. The Basketball Tournament has been honored as a 2019 Champion of Economic Impact in Sports Tourism by Sports Destination Management, the leading publication with the largest circulation of sports event planners and tournament directors in the sports tourism market, for both 2018 and 2019.  Headquartered in Charlotte, North Carolina, the CIAA is governed by the Presidents and Chancellors of its 13 member institutions: Bowie State University, Bluefield State University, Claflin University, Elizabeth City State University, Fayetteville State University, Johnson C. Smith University, Lincoln University of Pennsylvania, Livingstone College, Saint Augustine's University, Shaw University, Virginia State University, Virginia Union University, and Winston-Salem State University. For more information on the CIAA, visit, like us on Facebook, and follow us on Twitter and Instagram. 

About Virginia Union University: Virginia Union University is a premier liberal arts urban institution of higher education and center of excellence for the preparation of students and the development of leaders for tomorrow's world. VUU is an HCBU located in Richmond, Virginia nourished by its African American heritage and energized by a commitment to excellence and diversity.

About Winston-Salem State University: Winston-Salem State University fosters the creative thinking, analytical problem-solving, and depth of character needed to transform the world. Rooted in liberal education, WSSU's curriculum prepares students to be thought leaders who have the skills and knowledge needed to develop innovative solutions to complex problems. Founded in 1892, WSSU is a historically Black constituent institution of the University of North Carolina with a rich tradition of contributing to the social, cultural, intellectual, and economic growth of North Carolina, the region and beyond. Guided by the motto, "Enter to Learn, Depart to Serve," WSSU develops leaders who advance social justice by serving the world with compassion and commitment.


More News

Allegacy donates nearly $150K to expand WSSU’s food pantry, clothes closet

Winston-Salem State University’s (WSSU) food pantry and career closet is combining into a single larger space to better serve students, thanks to the generous grants from Allegacy Federal Credit Union.

Read Moreabout Allegacy donates nearly $150K to expand WSSU’s food pantry, clothes closet

WSSU to host author, actress Tabitha Brown in next Slater Speaker Series – ‘cause that’s our business’

Winston-Salem State University’s Slater Speaker Series, presented in partnership with the Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office, will host author and actress Tabitha Brown. The event will be held at 7 p.m. on April 17 at the Benton Convention Center in downtown Winston-Salem. It is free to attend; however, tickets are required.

Read Moreabout WSSU to host author, actress Tabitha Brown in next Slater Speaker Series – ‘cause that’s our business’

WSSU kicks off Scholarship Week “A Gallery of Genius” on April 1, 2024

On Monday, April 1 Winston-Salem State University kicks off Scholarship Week 2024: A Gallery of Genius. WSSU students, faculty and staff are encouraged to attend biggest academic event of the year that shines a spotlight on how scholars from all disciplines Unleash their Genius.

Read Moreabout WSSU kicks off Scholarship Week “A Gallery of Genius” on April 1, 2024