For famous basketball stars who have spent most of their lives being among the world’s best at what they do, a new post-NBA summer home will soon exist: the Champions Basketball League. Champions is still on schedule to begin legaue play in the summer of 2017, and the early word is, things couldn’t be going better.
Right now, the first thing fans need to know is… YES, this thing is REAL. And it appears to be developing exactly as planned.
Key updates about the league have been out for a while now: Champions league is coming in July of 2017, the goal is 16 teams in key cities around the United States, using NBA-experienced players who were in the league fairly recently and can therefore still ball at a top level. Games will be on ESPN.
Top people are involved. Three-time NBA All-Star Mark Aguirre is the Champions’ President of Basketball Operations. Basketball legends Earl “The Pearl” Monroe and Walt “Clyde” Frazier will be in charge of the Gotham Ballers, Champions’ New York-based team. That squad’s coach will be John Wallace. Additional teams will be announced between now and July.
The league plans to charge a very affordable $25 for tickets. Main play will be in July and August, with playoffs in September. Champions league has already had an exhibition game, with more on the way during the year. But league play during summer months is the feature attraction.
So far, all the players we’ve heard about are worth watching. These are dudes we all know and care about already.
Earlier this summer, the New York team roster was announced, and it’s fantastic: Al Harrington, Kenyon Martin, Shawn Marion, Eddy Curry, Kareem Rush, Daniel Gibson, Tyshawn Taylor, Jamaal Tinsley, Renaldo Balkman, Terrence Williams and Josh Childress.
For a new league, that’s an awesome initial team roster.
Recently, InsideHoops.com attended an unannounced Champions Basketball League scrimmage held on the practice court of Brooklyn NY’s Barclays Center. The verdict? Players are REALLY excited about this thing.
Corey Maggette, who still somehow looks about 23 years old, was in the building. Jamaal Tinsley was there, having an awesome time, still super fun to watch, dribbling like a wizard and even throwing his bowling-style pass for a beautiful assist. Ricky Davis, who all NBA fans will remember, can still play. Fan favorite Earl Boykins, still standing tall in his own way at 5-foot-5, appeared to be in great shape and was ready to rumble. Ruben Patterson told InsideHoops.com he fully intends to live up to the respect he earned in the past. Also participating were Al Thornton, Jermaine Taylor, Chris Smith and many other quality players. All of them seemed really excited about… everything.
Players were extremely competitive on the court, but once the action was over and they had time to cool down, it was like they were a part of a family. Champions will provide them with something they didn’t have before: high-level basketball during a part of the year they’d normally have little to do, playing with and against people they already know and respect.
We’re keeping a close eye on Champions Basketball League. So far, they’re on the right track.