HBCU basketball documentaries featured on Sunday’s Final Four


HBCU basketball and its impacts on American culture were featured April 4 during the NCAA’s Final Four Sunday. Three hour-long documentaries explored what HBCU basketball means to both the game and American life, showcasing HBCUs on college basketball’s biggest weekend. The first two featured HBCU legends Earl Monroe and John McLendon while the third, hosted by Monroe, explored HBCUs as a whole. In order as they aired:

  • “Big House, The Pearl & The Triumph of Winston-Salem State” (Click HERE for trailer)
  • “Soul of the Game: The John McLendon Story” (Click HERE for trailer)
  • “HBCUs: Elevating the Game” (Click HERE for trailer) 

Basketball’s ability to influence social justice causes, such as civil rights, is prominent. Philly native Earl “The Pearl” Monroe came to North Carolina’s Winston-Salem State in the teeth of the 1960’s civil rights surge and white backlash against it. Narrated by Chris Paul, the documentary demonstrates how The Pearl’s court prowess eased regional tensions at least at game time as people of all colors came to watch.

John Mclendon’s story is centered largely around the terrific work his legacy foundation does in providing scholarships and networking opportunities. Born in 1915 to a Lenni Lenape mother and Black father, McLendon’s coaching style precipitated the fast-paced game of today. With interviewees including Steve Kerr and produced by Grant Hill, the documentary dives into McLendon’s architectural role in the Civil Rights Movement.

As gifted of a chatterbox as he was a player, Earl Monroe narrates “HBCUs: Elevating the Game.” Featuring hip-hop star and former Alabama State player 2 Chainz, Cheyney University’s Yolanda Laney and Alcorn State’s Lindsey Hunter, the story goes beyond the court to show HBCUs’ immeasurable influence on American culture.

For more information on the documentaries or the McLendon Foundation, please contact Adrien Harraway at aharraway@nacda.com, (434) 981-0324 or visit minorityleaders.org.