Trail Blazers

Robert Covington pays it forward, gives back to TSU

Trail Blazers

Robert Covington is just built different. 

He took a road to the NBA the few have taken, coming from a Historically Black College and University (HBCU), Tennessee State University. 

Covington, now with the Portland Trail Blazers, is currently the only player in the NBA from an HBCU but he hasn't forgotten his roots. 

Near the end of 2020 Covington proved to the world that he never forgets where he came from. 

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Reaching into his wallet, Covington donated $1M to TSU to build a state-of-the-art basketball practice facility dubbed the Covington Pavilion.

But Covington's generosity didn't stop there. 

At Sunday night's All-Star Game, Covington starred in the NBA Skills Challenge. But this night was about more than just crossovers and perfect passes, it was about paying it forward. 

Prior to the start of the event, Covington did a TV interview with the NBA on TNT crew. It was there that Covington changed the life of two TSU students forever. 

Michael Thompson and Micahlea Njie, two athletes at TSU, were each surprised with a $25,000 scholarship from the man known as RoCo.


To say the surprise was life-changing for these two would be an understatement. 

On Monday, Thompson, a Track and Field star at Covington's Alma Mater, joined the Brian Noe Show to talk about the experience.

I'm still shocked... I'm happy. That's a blessing.

Michael Thompsons on the gift from Covington

The was special for Thompson. It meant more than just help with school. It meant a way to continue to lead by example and set the future in motion for his family. 

"My mom is so happy. We keep her running. We got a lot going on but we keep her running. I'm happy to keep my mom running. Being raised in a single-parent household, it's different," said Thompson. "I gotta continue to be grateful for my brothers and make an impact for them, make an impact for the world."

Thompson truly does hope to make an impact for everyone. The junior wants to become an epidemiologist and hopes to one day be the Director of the Center for Disease Control. Thompson has the drive to get there, and the attitude to succeed at whatever he decides to do.

"Every morning on my Instagram... I do a positive speech," said Thompson. "My favorite quote is 'Every day is a new life to a wise man." by Dale Carnegie... You can do whatever you put your mind to. Don't ever give up. Don't ever quit. Good things will happen."

Perhaps the biggest impact of Covington's gift won't be felt on Thompson but will be felt by the next generation. That's because not only has Covington helped Thompson strive for his own greatness, he is inspiring Thompson to continue paying forward.

What Robert Covington did for me I want to be able to do for multiple students, multiple kids in the future. 

Michael Thompson