Norfolk State to Meet Grambling, Alabama State at Chris Paul HBCU Challenge


SPRINGFIELD, Mass. – The Norfolk State men’s basketball team will square off against two Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC) opponents in a highly-anticipated multi-team event this winter.

The Chris Paul Family Foundation and the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame announced the merging of the HBCU Tip-Off and Challenge into the Chris Paul HBCU Challenge, featuring Norfolk State as a headlining participant.

The event will take place from December 19-20 at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Conn. Norfolk State will play in the Division I bracket, joined by Delaware State, Grambling, and Alabama State.

“Chris Paul’s unwavering advocacy for HBCU athletes reflects his deep commitment to their empowerment and success,” said John L. Doleva, president and CEO of the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame. “The Basketball Hall of Fame is honored to collaborate with Chris to promote opportunities for these talented student-athletes.”

Coming off a MEAC regular season crown and CIT Championship title, the Spartans open their slate on Thursday, Dec. 19 against Alabama State. Norfolk State returns to the nearly 10,000-seat arena the next day to square off against Grambling, the defending SWAC Regular Season and Tournament champions.

Paul, an active philanthropist and entrepreneur, has actively supported HBCUs for years, serving on President Joe Biden’s advisory board for Historically Black Colleges and Universities. He also launched HBCU voting initiatives to encourage students to vote during the past election, partnering with Sour Patch Kids and the Thurgood Marshall College Fund to create The Mischief for Change Scholarship, a college scholarship fund with a $1 million commitment over the next five years for students attending HBCUs.

“I’m excited to continue to grow the game of basketball through our HBCU tournaments,” Paul said. “These games present a unique opportunity for student athletes to play on a national stage and receive their well-deserved recognition. Collaborating with the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame, Mohegan Sun, and our partners provides the commitment needed to support HBCU schools and student athletes.”

The Spartans have represented their university impressively in previous events hosted by the 12-time all-star. Norfolk State went 2-0 at the 2022 Boost Mobile Chris Paul HBCU Challenge with wins over Hampton and Grambling, before going undefeated again at the showcase in 2023 with victories over Hampton and North Carolina A&T.

“It’s exciting to be invited to the Chris Paul HBCU Challenge again,” NSU men’s basketball head coach Robert Jones said. “We have had success in this event before, and we are honored to be back!”

Source: Norfolk State Athletics/