In Howard Talk, Chris Paul Emphasizes The Importance Of Voting And HBCUs

Chris Paul is the point guard for the Oklahoma City Thunder, and the NBA Players Association President. Photo by Keith Allison/Wikicommons.

By Tiffany Hunt, Howard University News Service

The Boardroom University hosted a discussion last Monday in collaboration with Howard University’s Cathy Hughes School of Communications that featured Ros Gold-Onwude, the moderator and NBA point guard Chris Paul. 

Gold-Onwude is a broadcaster and host with the Boardroom, and Paul is not only the point guard for the Oklahoma City Thunder, but also is the NBA Players Association President.

The event highlighted topics surrounding voter registration, voting and the value of HBCUs.

The Boardroom University event is a discussion series and a partner program with Pepsi, that takes place with universities across the United States. 

Howard University’s President Wayne A. I. Frederick, started off the event by addressing the University, and thanking Paul, the Boardroom and CHSOC for hosting this event, and went into depth on how professional athletes are creating change in society. 

“In today’s world, NBA players are so much more than just athletes and entertainers, they are outspoken advocates and doers,” said President Frederick.

The Q and A, was the primary format of the event, the questions being asked by Gold-Onwude and being primarily answered by Paul. When asked how he is relaxing outside of the bubble, Paul immediately brings up how he hasn’t had much time to relax, but instead is staying busy by encouraging folks to vote in this upcoming presidential election.

“I’m focused on this voting, the voting initiative [When We All Vote], all the stuff we did in the bubble to get everybody locked in on voting,” said Paul.

Paul shares how surprised he was when he found out that many of his teammates were not registered to vote and have never voted in an election. Paul quickly realized this was a huge issue throughout the NBA, and realized the power the NBA had on society, and having NBA players pushing fans to vote could shift a major change. From there, voter registration and voter education has been in the forefront of Paul’s focus ever since.

On Oct. 4, during Game 3 of the NBA Playoffs, Paul announced on ESPN that 90 percent of the NBA was registered to vote.

Paul mentioned that he had voted in person, earlier in the day, along with 2,500 people, who all marched to a local polling station, in Winston-Salem, NC. Paul was still even wearing his “I voted” sticker during the event.

Paul elaborated on the impact that HBCUs had on his life. Paul is an alumni of Wake Forest University, which is not an HBCU, but a lot of his family members went to HBCUs, and Paul grew up in Winston-Salem, NC, home of Winston-Salem State University. 

“A lot of people know that I went to Wake [Forest], but people don’t know that everybody else in my family went to HBCUs. My brother started off at Hampton, my two little cousins just graduated from [North Carolina] A&T, and I just found out that my dad went to Winston-Salem State for a semester,” said Paul.

Being surrounded by family members who went to HBCUs, made Paul want to pay homage to the HBCU community.

“Growing up in Winston-Salem, I was around a lot of HBCUs, you know what I’m saying. Whether it be Livingstone, whether it be North Carolina Central, all these different schools,” said Paul.

While in the NBA bubble, Paul would often be caught swagged out in HBCU gear during his game entrances, with hopes of raising awareness of HBCUs and black designers.

“A couple of years ago Courtney Mays, my stylist, we would talk, and I was like what do I want to do this season, and I was like I want to champion black designers,” said Paul.


In the above tweet, you will see pictures of Paul wearing various different HBCUs, a lot of the gear designed by black business owner and Howard University senior Tahir Murray, also known as “Mr. Legacy.” Murray is the CEO of Legacy. History. Pride., an HBCU luxury brand. 

Currently, Paul is enrolled at Winston-Salem State pursuing a degree in communications. Paul’s classes began around the same time as the playoffs did. 

“My first day of classes was actually, my first play off game in the bubble,” said Paul.