Makur Maker Makes His Mark On College Basketball and Beyond

Makur Maker, the 6-foot-11, 5-star recruit, shocked the college basketball world Thursday night, tweeting that he would attend Howard University over traditional powerhouses like Kentucky and UCLA.

This feels historic and truly revolutionary. 

In the fight for racial equality, the cousin of NBA player Thon Maker took significant action rather than settling for taking a knee, tearing down a statue or growing an afro. Maker was born in Kenya, grew up in Australia and moved to California in 2015. He likely has a different set of sensibilities than the typical American-born hoops prodigy. 

He tweeted that he will explain his recruiting decision on ESPN on July 9, which is Independence Day for South Sudan, a country in East-Central Africa. 

Yeah, it appears Maker believes there’s no better way to support his black peers than to use his athletic skills for the betterment of an HBCU. He’s right.

If black social justice warriors want to make a positive impact in their communities, they will have to follow the lead of Makur Maker. They must choose to enhance, uplift and invest in The Culture they claim rather than abandon it or exploit for the benefit of others. 

Black celebrities love to complain via social media about “white flight” and gentrification. They never whine about their decision to export their talents, financial and emotional support to the mainstream. Let’s hope LeBron James stops his love affair with The Ohio State University and throws his spotlight on Howard University.    

Makur Maker is taking a huge risk. Passing on programs like UCLA, Kentucky, and Memphis is hard. He has plenty to lose joining an unproven program at Howard. The Bison haven’t had a winning season in nearly 20 years. Coaches and administrators at the Big Schools will all be rooting for Maker to fail or for Howard’s coaches and administrators to screw this up. Others will argue he should’ve joined the G League, the NBA’s developmental organization. 

Maker is trying to start a movement. He tweeted:

“I was the first to announce my visit to Howard and others started to dream “what if.” I need to make the HBCU movement real so that others will follow. I hope I inspire guys like Mikey Williams to join me on this journey. I am committing to Howard U and coach Kenny Blakeney. #MakerMob”

I applaud Makur. 

We have to take risks to fix our communities. Gestures and lassoing statues to the ground will accomplish nothing for black youth. If we want change, we need to change it ourselves. Change comes from getting uncomfortable and making tough choices.

We can use the internet to shame and blame everyone but ourselves for the condition of our community. Makur Maker utilized the platform to create a challenge for all of us. There’s no better way to raise a community up than to challenge it to do forself.

Count me as #MakerMob4Life.

Written by Gary Sheffield, Jr

Gary Sheffield Jr is the son of should-be MLB Hall of Famer, Gary Sheffield. He covers basketball and baseball for, chats with the Purple and Gold faithful on LakersNation, and shitposts on Twitter. You can follow him at GarySheffieldJr


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  1. Hey Gary Jr.,
    Makur has a lot of intestinal fortitude…he sees the path less travelled and he’s taking it. God bless him…good for him!!! Great writing on your part!!!

  2. I am on the fence about this issue. While I do think its great that a smaller school was able recruit/convince a top national aspiring athletic talent to boost its program and institutions. I dont think it would be a good thing if suddenly all of the top athletic black players exclusively went to Historically Black Colleges/Universities solely because of their race. I dont like the idea of black schools vs white schools becoming the top collegiate atheltic standard.

  3. This kind of thing doesn’t help unite Americans at all. I love basketball, but it’s a different game in college vs the Pros.

    And what message does it really send about Howard University? Are they better at sports or academics or politics? We will never know.

    Maker chose Howard for his reasons, but the appearance Is counter to The concept of unifying people across racial, cultural and ethnic and socio-economic lines.

    Example: Michael Jackson approached Eddie Van Halen in 1982 in order to cross over in the music industry And record one of the biggest song singles ever. That united many Heavy Metal fans with Pop music fans. It worked with me. MJ was sending a message and it was received. And it stuck. It was and still is inclusive.

    Try listening to “Beat It” without singing the song and playing air guitar like Eddie. Genius.

    Athletes Today choosing schools based on race doesn’t solve race issues. ‘Maker’ playing basketball for Yale or MIT or the Naval Academy would send a more inclusive message than a ‘One and Done‘ future superstar choosing a school based on its perceived racial composition.

    How does this elevate Howard? Or Maker? Or basketball?

    It doesn’t. Unfortunately it sends a very clear message of ‘separate and maybe equal’

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