NBA's Elton Brand finances ABA team

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Looks like our team hero never seizes to amaze us on and off the court. He has now invested in a minor league club with the urging of his mother Daisy. He will not only finance the team but will include family members in his venture. It will also give opportunity to locals and aspiring Bball players the chance to make their dreams come true on a smaller platform.

This guy really has his head on straight and it's no wonder he has won awards for such actions. I know you have a profit factor in this but I'm sure that is not his main priority when it comes to things like this.

By the way, if any of you guys have any skill, they are having open tryouts for those of you willing to

Great article!

NBA's Elton Brand finances ABA team



(Original publication: September 5, 2007)

PEEKSKILL - Elton Brand is giving local basketball fans something else to cheer about.

At the urging of his mother, the popular Los Angeles Clippers forward is financing an expansion team in the revived American Basketball Association. The Westchester Phantoms are expected to debut Nov. 4 against the Strong Island Sound at Peekskill High School.

Daisy Brand is listed as the franchise owner. Her oldest son, Artie McGriff, is the general manager.

"Really, it's me running things and her telling me what to do," McGriff said with a laugh yesterday. "She thought it would be a good idea to own a basketball team and help some guys get to the next level. Elton put up the money, but we've still got to make it a business."

McGriff plans to interview coaches in the coming days and will conduct open tryouts for players in the coming weeks. A detailed marketing strategy is also in the works.

The fifth-year league's goal is to provide affordable family entertainment.

"I would go and watch the games," said Leonard Holliman, a school-bus driver in the city who also officiates high school games. "I'm a basketball fan. They just need to get the word out in the community to bring fans out."

Similar ventures in the county in the past have not found the necessary support.

The Westchester Wildfire, a United States Basketball League team, debuted in 2003 and lasted just three seasons. The team played at the Westchester County Center and Pace University.

"Our business model does give most teams a push," ABA co-founder Joe Newman said. "There is a difference, though, between Houston, Dallas, Chicago, Detroit, L.A. and New York and the smaller markets, because you really cannot command the major media outlets. So it takes a tremendous amount of community development."

According to several current teams in the ABA, it costs up to $500,000 a year to operate a franchise. The main goal right now is to create awareness of the new team.

"It's good news," said Eric Bolton, a senior at Peekskill High who was hanging out at Lepore Park. "I've heard of the ABA. I've been playing basketball my whole life, so I'd go."

McGriff is considering the idea of selling tickets for as low as $5 in the Phantoms' first season. Most teams in the ABA charge $8 to $12 for a ticket. He also plans to recruit community groups with an offer to share profits from ticket sales.

"We're making a major commitment," McGriff said. "I think we're in this as long as it takes to be successful. Of course it would be nice to make a profit, but our main goal is to create something that can sustain itself. And if that takes a few years, we're here for a few years."

The Phantoms will play 36 games. Most of the home games at Peekskill High School will take place on Sunday afternoons. New bleachers will accommodate up to 1,200 spectators.

In a past life, the ABA was best known for its red, white and blue basketball. The league also introduced the 3-point shot to the game and showcased the likes of Julius "Dr. J" Erving and George "Ice" Gervin before merging with the rival NBA in 1976.

The new ABA is not affiliated with the original league. It now has 50 teams competing in the United States, Canada and Mexico.

Nothing in the NBA's constitution or bylaws prevents Elton Brand from backing a minor-league team. Denver Nuggets star Allan Iverson provided financial backing last year for a team owned by his mother, Ann, which is now based in Hampton Roads, Va.

Open tryouts will be held Sept. 22 and 29 in Peekskill, and the goal is to find as much local talent as possible.

"If we can put a competitive team together from the area, that would be the best thing for us," McGriff said.

Establishing a local identity is considered critical.

"The basketball fans will always come," said Jessica Sniffen, a senior at Peekskill High who was getting ready for volleyball practice. "It would be nice to know somebody on the team and have somebody to root for."

Reach Mike Dougherty at

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Good of EB to do something for the community he came from and also do something nice for mom Wink.

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