NBA All-Star Chris Paul is teaming up with Roadside Entertainment to produce a docuseries rooted in basketball programs at historically black college and universities (HBCUs).
Why Not Us: North Carilina Central University Men’s Basketball, premieres Feb. 12, the first premium project to debut under The Undefeated on ESPN+. Paul’s production company, Oh Dip!!!, originated the idea for the eight episode series and brought it to ESPN. Filming commenced in the fall as the 2020-21 college basketball season opened amid sustained COVID uncertainty.
To help promote this series, Paul also shot one-on-one conversations with famous HBCU alums, incldung Morehouse’s Spike Lee and Howard’s Taraji P. Henson.
The goal is to provide an intimate look at the challenges HBCU school face in competing with bigger athletic programs that attracts top basketball recruits.
“HBCUs historically have been at a competitive disadvantage with their basketball programs facing many challenges with funding, recruitment, misperceptions, and exposure,” said Chris Paul. “ With the current racial awakening in our country prompting young athletes to look at where they play, it’ss now more important than ever to shine a light on HBCUs and showcase their value in sports and society.”
Recruitment matters because a school’s ability to land top prospects but also its ability to attract additional talent and resources and fundraise for the entire institution. HBCUs have traditionally remained on the sidelines as the nation’s most talented young athletes, many of them Black, commit to PWIs, motivating boosters and elevating a programs chances of postseason glory. These college athletes miss out on the potential of an educational and social experience unique to HBCU culture.