Basketball League for White Americans Targets Augusta

Billy Byler, Augusta Chronicle, January 19, 2010

A new professional basketball league boasting rosters made up exclusively of white Americans has its eyes set on Augusta, but the team isn’t receiving a warm welcome.

The All-American Basketball Alliance announced in a news release Sunday evening that it intends to start its inaugural season in June and hopes Augusta will be one of 12 cities with a team.

“Only players that are natural born United States citizens with both parents of Caucasian race are eligible to play in the league,” the statement said.

Augusta Mayor Deke Copenhaver, who has publicly expressed his support for minor league teams in the past, said he would not do the same for this team.

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Don “Moose” Lewis, the commissioner of the AABA, said the reasoning behind the league’s roster restrictions is not racism.

“There’s nothing hatred about what we’re doing,” he said. “I don’t hate anyone of color. But people of white, American-born citizens are in the minority now. Here’s a league for white players to play fundamental basketball, which they like.”

Lewis said he wants to emphasize fundamental basketball instead of “street-ball” played by “people of color.” He pointed out recent incidents in the NBA, including Gilbert Arenas’ indefinite suspension after bringing guns into the Washington Wizards locker room, as examples of fans’ dissatisfaction with the way current professional sports are run.

“Would you want to go to the game and worry about a player flipping you off or attacking you in the stands or grabbing their crotch?” he said. “That’s the culture today, and in a free country we should have the right to move ourselves in a better direction.”

The Atlanta-based league, which will operate as a single-entity owning all of its teams, is looking for local contacts to pay $10,000 to become a “licensee” in one of 12 cities throughout the Southeast. Lewis said he has already received threats from people opposed to the roster restrictions and several cities have told him to stay out of town. Lewis said he has yet to hear from any one in Augusta.

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“People will come out and support a product they can identify with. I’m the spoken minority right now, but if people will give us a chance, it’ll work. . . . The white game of basketball, which is essentially a fundamental game, works.”

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