Actor and producer Michael B. Jordan, in partnership with WME Sports, the sports division of WME, an Endeavor company, Harris Blitzer Sports & Entertainment (HBSE), and Scout, Horizon Media’s sports, entertainment and experiential marketing agency, today announced the launch of an inaugural HBCU college basketball showcase, the Hoop Dreams Classic. The event will be held on December 18, 2021 at Prudential Center in Newark, N.J., and will feature four of the top Division I HBCU Men’s basketball programs.
“This past year has been the tipping point for so many, including myself, in revving up support for Black people,” said Jordan. “As a Newark native, I am committed to bringing change to the community and am honored to be able to present The Hoop Dreams Classic as a way to celebrate the value of community, education, and Black college experiences. Through our shared love of basketball, I look forward to bringing the communal spirit of HBCUs to the city that helped shape me into the man I am today.”
The Hoop Dreams Classic will be a one-day, doubleheader basketball showcase. It will also feature an immersive cultural experience highlighting other elements of HBCU life and culture including Battle of the Bands, culinary events, live musical performances, film festivals, college and career opportunities and more.
Hoop Dreams is a social impact lifestyle brand at the intersection of sport, apparel, and culture. It provides a platform and resources to help athletes control their destiny and live their Hoop Dreams on and off the court.
“After seeing firsthand the lack of resources and information available to basketball players, I was determined to make Hoop Dreams the vehicle that could provide the tools these kids need to be successful in life beyond the game,” said Hoop Dreams CEO Jessica Estrada. “Michael and I share similar foundations and visions for our communities which is why I am thrilled to partner with him.”
Partial proceeds from the event will be used to support organizations focused around advancing historically black colleges and universities and the local Newark community. 160over90, a culturally-led, full service marketing agency and Endeavor company, has been tapped for the design and branding of the Hoop Dreams Classic.
Jordan is represented by WME and manager Phillip Sun, M88 President, Managing Partner and Co-Founder, who were both instrumental in his partnership with Endeavor Content and Color of Change on #ChangeHollywood, a roadmap to address racial inequities in the entertainment industry.
“Following our partnership with Michael on #ChangeHollywood, we are thrilled to collaborate with him on his next venture to highlight top HBCU basketball programs and give them much deserved visibility,” said Jordan Bazant, Co-Head of WME Sports. “Bringing together Michael and Outlier Society with Prudential Center, HBSE and Scout/Horizon Media whom we have previously worked alongside, forms an incredible group for this event to come to fruition.”
“We are proud to stand alongside our partners Michael B. Jordan, WME Sports and Scout/Horizon Media to create and host an event at the Prudential Center that shines a spotlight on HBCU basketball programs. In hosting the ‘Hoop Dreams Classic,’ we continue our tradition and mission to support and promote meaningful, live events at intersection of sports, entertainment and culture in our venues, alongside our storied brands, and for the benefit of the communities where our teams live, work and play,” said Scott O’Neil, CEO of Harris Blitzer Sports & Entertainment.
“This endeavor is more than just competitive sports, it’s a platform to appreciate and champion black excellence” said Scout Vice President Sean Singletary. “Fostering an authentic inclusive environment is a priority for our organization and in order to do so, we must commit to recognizing and embracing those cultural moments that make us all unique.”
To combat the lack of diverse representation at the executive level throughout the media industry, Horizon Media is actively developing a recruiting component that will connect agencies with HBCU professional talent.