Charlotte Hornets Foundation Gifts $10K to Esports Program at Johnson C. Smith University

The NBA team's foundation and its affiliate NBA 2K esports team awarded a scholarship to the HBCU's Esports and Gaming Management program.
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  • The $10,000 scholarship will help student professional development and experiential learning opportunities.
  • Johnson C. Smith was the first HBCU to offer a "gaming trifecta" with a curriculum, coursework, and an esports club team.
  • The Hornets foundation said it wanted to benefit the future of all the program's students this year rather than one student.

In a crossover between professional sports and the collegiate esports world, the Charlotte Hornets Foundation gave Johnson C. Smith University (JCSU), one of the country's historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs), a scholarship for its esports program.

JCSU announced last week that the NBA team's foundation and 2K League affiliate awarded the $10,000 Hornets Venom GT Scholarship to the HBCU's Esports and Gaming Management program. The Hornets Venom GT is the official NBA 2K esports affiliate team for the Charlotte Hornets.

"Our organization has a long-standing relationship with Johnson C. Smith University, and we are proud to support their innovative Esports & Gaming Management program in many ways throughout the year," Charlotte Hornets Foundation Executive Director Betsy Mack said in the announcement.

"Our goal this year in awarding the annual Hornets Venom GT Scholarship to the overall Esports & Gaming Management program is to help support all of the program's current and future students rather than just one."

Johnson C. Smith University was the first HBCU to have a "gaming trifecta" — a curriculum, coursework, and club team — in 2021. JCSU will use the award for student professional development, experiential learning, and other opportunities to benefit students, faculty, and staff.

"As Founder and Coordinator of JCSU's Esports and Gaming Trifecta, the first at an HBCU, I am ecstatic that our program was selected as the recipient of this prestigious award," program founder BerNadette Lawson-Williams said in the announcement. "We immensely appreciate the support that our partners, the Charlotte Hornets Foundation and the Hornets Venom GT, have provided our program over the years."