"Why Not Us" will premiere on ESPN+ beginning Feb. 12, at 10 a.m. Photo Courtesy of The Athletic

“Why Not Us?”: NCCU to star in new ESPN docuseries

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On Monday, February 1, The Undefeated and ESPN+ announced that the North Carolina Central University men’s basketball team will star in the new docuseries, titled, “Why Not Us.

The 8-episode series will give viewers an all-access look at Head Coach Levelle Moton and the defending MEAC championship basketball team as they battle through COVID-19 protocol and tough opponents in efforts to defend their title.

NBA All-Star point guard Chris Paul and ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith will be the executive producers for the docuseries set to debut on February 12 on ESPN +, the sports network’s online streaming service.

The two sports icons have strong ties to Historically Black Colleges and Universities. Smith attended Winston-Salem State University as an undergraduate. While Paul didn’t attend an HBCU (Wake Forest), he has been a constant supporter of all HBCUs across the country.

His support became evident in the NBA’s Orlando Bubble last summer when he sported schools like Livingston, Texas Southern, Alabama A&M, and many more in his pregame outfits.

“I definitely want to make sure I educate my kids on the importance of HBCUs and make sure they understand that they’re no less than any other school, a PWI (predominantly white institution),” Paul told GQ magazine in August. “And I think that’s the perception that a lot of people have.”

The recent announcement has caused a buzz around the campus especially on social media. N.C. Central students have expressed their excitement about the new ESPN project and feel that the school will benefit from it.

Senior India Bolden thinks that it is an “honor, privilege, and well-deserved exposure” for both the team and the school as a whole to be featured in the docuseries.

“Our HBCU has always been shadowed by other top HBCUs,” Bolden explained. “With the ESPN docuseries coming out about our basketball team, I think NCCU will be seen more in the public eye and acknowledge by big named athletes and celebrities.”

For basketball alumnus Larry McKnight, the docuseries will be very impactful to the
program and makes him proud to have been apart of the journey before.

“I feel like the impact this docuseries will have will be huge on the current players just
because it shows the inside scoop on what they have to face and battle on a day-to-day
basis,” explained McKnight. “As far as being an alumnus and former player for NCCU I
can actually say I’m proud to be just apart of the tradition/legacy because it shows the
program is steadily growing and everyone that has come before has put in some type of
effort or contributed in a way so the program can be where it is today.”

Knight also understands that the series could have not only have an impact on the school in the present but the future as well.

“For the future players, it shows what it takes to be an Eagle. Coach Moton doesn’t only help with your things on the court but also what’s to come later on in life and what it takes to be a man.”

The Eagles will soon be in the national spotlight as the world will be watching on Friday, February 12.

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