Since Wednesday, July 5, 2017 residents and passersby on 1st Street in Little Havana (a predominantly Hispanic neighborhood in Miami) have heard cheers and loud music coming through the closed doors of Miami Senior High School’s basketball gym. The reason being is because of three words–Miami–Pro–League.
Although the MSHS men and women’s basketball teams’ season doesn’t start until later this fall, people from all around the city of Miami have found their way to the Stingrays’ gym. Every Tuesday and Thursday at 6:30 p.m. and 8:00 p.m., the Miami Pro League, an adult men’s basketball Pro Am league hosts games that gets their audience off their seats and on their feet due to monstrous slam dunks and ankle breaking crossovers.
In addition, the factor of knowing an NBA player can walk through the Stingrays’ gym helps to build suspense. Hassan Whiteside, Mario Chalmers, Victor Oladipo, Wilson Chandler, Tyreke Evans, James Johnson, Brandon Knight, and Tim Hardaway Jr., are just a few of the NBA players who graced the court for Miami Pro League so far this summer. Basketball players who play professionally overseas & nationally, at the collegiate level, or are just local legends play in the league as well.
Each year the Miami Pro League lasts for six weeks; this year MPL began on Wednesday, July 5, 2017 and will continue until the second week of August. The pro league invites and hosts eight teams. Players and coaches are contacted and informed on when the league will begin. Once contacted, Damien Jordan, MPL’s Director of Player Personnel, helps the coaches in selecting players for each team.
The league is run by four people: Kyle Davis (Miami Pro League’s Commissioner), Joe Pope (Miami Pro League’s Emcee), Damien Jordan (Miami Pro League’s Director of Player Personnel), and DJ Authorize (Miami Pro League’s DJ).
This will be Miami Pro League’s fourth year in existence. In 2014, Davis and Pope met through mutual business friends. After meeting, the two worked together in creating Miami Pro League.
“… I knew it could work because Kyle is all about basketball,” said Pope. “So, we put it together – it went hand in hand with what we had to do. We started out at Coral Gables [Senior High]–we didn’t have a big crowd then … . Second year, we had a lot more people–third year we built it–fourth year–look man we might need a new gym after this one man!”
Since 2014 the summer league has grown and has gotten a lot of attention. Athletes and public figures such as Antrel Rolle, Dr. Miami, Norris Cole, and others have shown up in attendance just to watch the pick-up games. Miami Pro League has gotten exposure locally and nationally. They have been featured on media outlets such as WPLG10, Slam, and Baller Alert.
When asked what was the purpose of building such a platform for basketball in Miami Commissioner Davis stated “ … it was to showcase the talent [talent at the professional and collegiate basketball level] to young kids. … we pride ourselves in providing a safe entertainment environment for these kids to enjoy and look forward to something cool every summer. As a kid growing up in Miami myself, I wish there was something like this around that I had to look forward to. To go see Tim Hardaway or Alonzo Mourning. I wish I had that.”
Now, Miami Pro League offers that opportunity to children and adults at no charge.
To learn more about Miami Pro League, click here.
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