This summer is all about seeing new basketball.
With Ice Cube’s BIG3 league, NBA Summer League, and the NBA offseason in full-swing, we’ve finally got some entertainment to look forward to. The latest addition to that list is the Champions League and their new team, the Los Angeles Superstars. With President Byron Scott, General Manager Gary Payton, and coach Mitch Richmond, along with players like Corey Maggette, Mike Bibby, Carlos Boozer, Josh Childress, Al Thorton, Daniel “Boobie” Gibson, and others, they’ve assembled what looks to be a Superstar caliber basketball organization.
The Champions League is aimed at giving every fan an inside-look at competitive basketball that virtually everyone can see. Tickets start at $25 and allow for meet-and-greets with players and staff members before and after games. It’s all about building an experience where kids and adults can see great basketball and meet players, and players can give back to the community. The league also announced that you can actually own a portion of the team with a small investment creating an increased nostalgia and excitement for the product.
“We thought of the idea to run a summer league where players who still wanted to play and had NBA experience could play,” Mark Scoggins, CEO of the Superstars told us. “We had an idea of them playing back home. Home meaning where they grew up, played high school, college, and in the pros. That was the essence of why I got involved with Champions League.”
Scoggins, a former Chief Revenue Officer of NBA retired player’s association, was brought on after hearing of the idea and his connection to Los Angeles. Scoggins used to work for the Lakers in corporate partnerships as well as with Magic Johnson on his business endeavors. Here, he’s just trying to emulate what Dr. Buss did.
“What was so special about Dr. Buss is that he let people do their jobs,” Scoggins added. “I may be got summoned into his office three times during my tenure with the Lakers but other than that, he always let you run things. If the product on the court was good than the hot-dogs tasted better, the parking was easier, everything was better. He and Magic are almost clones of each other in that sense, I’m glad I got to learn from two of the best.”
Scoggins is most looking forward to creating new jobs and opportunities for players who may not have had the chance to get back into basketball. The league kicks off in July and runs through September where teams play an elimination-style tournament. The Superstars are just one of 16 teams in the league but have completely loaded up on talent and name-recognition.
“This is a perfect opportunity for me because I still want to go out and prove what I have left,” Kareem Rush, one of the players on the Superstars told DIME. “We’ve had some mini-camps, workouts, and everything is really competitive. I think people are going to be really excited with what they see.”
Rush, the brother of Brandon, who currently plays in Minnesota with the Timberwolves, played for the Lakers alongside Kobe and Shaq but is now among the newcomers to the Superstars. In fact, Jimmie Maggette, brother of former NBA player Corey Maggette, got Rush involved. The two have known each other a long time, so the relationship played a big part in getting players like Rush on board.
“We all just love to play the game of basketball,” Corey Maggette told us. “I’m just looking to get the competitive nature and spirit back with these guys.”
The L.A. area is a hot bed in terms of basketball, but adding another team which focuses on bringing former, local NBA talent to the area once again seems like a hit. With Snoop Dogg as the celebrity commissioner and owner of the Superstars, it only adds to the hoopla.
Basketball as a year-round sport is becoming more and more prevalent as we see leagues like the Champions – and the BIG3 – start to grow, form, and improve. Not only will it help basketball fans who couldn’t normally afford to watch an NBA game, but it allows the Los Angeles community to meet and spend time with the players they grew up watching or loving.