Howard University basketball players Seth Towns and Joshua Strong are showing that being a Division I athlete is possible while pursuing their future careers.

Towns attended his first two years at Harvard University, where he was Ivy League Player of the Year and AP All-America honorable mention, according to The Grio. The forward suffered knee and back injuries that hindered his performance as an athlete. Towns obtained his undergraduate degree before pursuing a master’s at Ohio State. At the time, he thought his basketball days were over but ultimately gave it another chance. Towns enrolled at Howard and joined the Bisons.

“I think I have restructured my relationship with basketball,” Towns told The Columbus Dispatch. “It is much healthier now. I’m not saying I put my entire identity into basketball, but man, it was hard because that’s kind of the only professional aspiration I’ve had.”




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“Everything else was kind of subsidiary to that,” he added. “Now, I think I’ve released myself from the need to play at whatever level. I’m very grateful I’ll have another chance to play, and I love the sport and all that, but I would say my connection to it isn’t as unhealthy as it was before.”

At 26, Towns is now the oldest NCAA basketball player. He is currently pursuing a doctoral program in English literature. Deciding to attend Howard was an obvious choice for Towns.

“I knew off jump that I wanted to go to Howard if I had any eligibility left,” he told Slam. “I feel like the value of something like attending an HBCU isn’t always seen clearly. It’s [ours] to build, ours to protect, and ours to cultivate into this huge magical thing.”

Joshua Strong is also part of the Bison and is pursuing a potential future career at Howard. The foot guard earned his bachelor’s degree in two years, which he completed last Spring. He pursued his studies at the law school while being a team member.

“I always had a passion for social justice,” he told The Washington Post. “I guess early, I kind of conceptualized law as the way to attack that. I was always smart, and people would say, ‘Oh, you’re going to be a doctor, engineer.’ Well, how am I going to help Black people?”


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The 21-year-old says he was inspired by Seton Hall’s Braden Anderson, who is believed to be the first Division I men’s basketball player also to attend law school. 

“I just think that, like, you have to be strong-willed,” Strong added. “As a Black man, they’re going to try to break your will. … I’ve got to know what I believe. I need to be a lawyer so I can help my people.”