We may not have seen the last of Rasheed Wallace on a basketball court, and it’s difficult to express just how happy that makes us. According to Sam Amick of USA Today Sports, a new basketball organization called The Champions League will debut next summer and will feature former NBA All-Stars as well as prospective pro players. Here’s more from Amick:
Sixteen teams to begin competing in the summer of 2016, with a strong preference for players who have competed in the NBA during the last three years. According to George, the New York team is already fully formed and includes former NBA players Al Harrington, Rasheed Wallace and Maurice Ager. Teams in Boston, Philadelphia, Washington, Miami, Orlando, Atlanta and Cleveland are up next, with the goal to employ approximately 250 players in all (170 on teams, others as player-coaches or in other roles). Each team would have two former NBA All-stars on the roster and a Hall of Famer in the front office. George said that 60 players have committed to this point, with many more “in the pipeline” while the subsequent teams are rolled out.
Champions League chairman and CEO Carl George (not to be confused with Denver Nuggets coach George Karl) said the league isn’t designed to compete with the NBA, although he made no bones about the fact that it could lure players away from the NBA’s Development League, namely with the promise of exponentially higher salaries. George said the average salary for a Champions League player would be in the $200,000 range, while the ceiling for D-Leaguers is around $25,000 per year. The league will also apparently offer additional monetary performance incentives, such as a $50,000 bonus for division winners and a $100,000 kicker for tournament champs.
With an extensive background in the software industry, George seems confident he can secure enough funding from investors to keep the league afloat, and they’ve already signed on one high-profile sponsor in Tommy Hilfiger. But the question remains as to whether the league can both build and sustain a solid enough fan base. The league will air its first charity game on ESPN3 at the end of January, but it’s unclear whether the World Wide Leader will televise all of the games.
Still, it will offer actual basketball during the July and August doldrums, which is something that most hoops junkies can appreciate, especially given the added sentimental value of watching our favorite former players try to relive their glory days.
(Via USA Today Sports)