Trail Blazers

Robert Covington looking forward to representing HBCUs over All-Star weekend

Trail Blazers

Trail Blazers forward Robert Covington will take part in the 2021 Skills Challenge during NBA All-Star Weekend.

Covington will be competing against NBA All-Stars Luka Dončić of the Mavericks and Chris Paul of the Suns along with Knicks forward Julius Randle, Pacers forward Domantas Sabonis and Magic center Nikola Vučević.

The Taco Bell Skills Challenge will take place before the 2021 NBA All-Star Game at 3:30p.m. PST on TNT.

But this year's six-player competition means a lot to Covington because of what the NBA is doing during All-Star weekend.

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Covington attended Tennessee State, a Historically Black College and University (HBCU) in Nashville, Tennessee.

This year, as part of NBA All-Star 2021, the league and the players association is committing more than $2.5 million in funds and resources toward HBCUs.

Covington is currently the only NBA player to have graduated from an HBCU.


He spoke with the media ahead of Thursday’s game against the Kings explaining the significance for him to have graduated from an HBCU.

“It’s about leaving a legacy,” Covington said. “Everything that I’ve done in my career, TSU is what helped mold me into the individual that I am today.”

HBCU’s historically have provided educational opportunities and access to African-Americans since the 1800’s with their own medical, law, dental, pharmacy, and vet schools. 

Per the NBA, the league will pay tribute to the vital role of HBCUs through music, content and storytelling during All-Star festivities.

And it means so much to Covington to participate in the Skills Challenge to represent HBCUs.  

To be a part of it, I’m truly thankful. It’s an opportunity that I couldn’t pass up and with everything that’s going on [throughout the weekend], especially towards HBCUs, it’s only right that I’m a part of it… It’s something that I’m really thankful to be a part of.

Trail Blazers veteran Robert Covington 

RoCo graduated from Tennessee State University in 2013 with a degree in Exercise Science while finishing his college basketball career ranked seventh on Tennessee State’s all-time list in both scoring (1,749 points) and rebounding (876). 

This past November, Covington donated $1 million to his alma mater to help build a new basketball practice facility.  

Covington says he will go through the obstacle course a few times before the competition begins, but adds, “there’s not really too much” to prepare for when it comes to the Skills Challenge.  

But he’s also ready “to go out there and have fun.”