E1 basketball summer league hopes to change communities
INSPIRED TO make a difference in Caribbean communities, P.H.A.S.E. 1 Academy CEO Wayne Dawkins aims to bring Caribbean basketball to the world with the E1 Caribbean Basketball League (E1CBL) this summer.
“The E1CBL aims to be the top league in the Caribbean and South America and one of the top smaller leagues in the world,” he said. “It is always about community development for me, and so I want to make sure that the youth and youth projects that I set out to do are benefiting from the role models and the networks that are being developed in the professional league. I also want to ensure that the resources that can come in from pro basketball are being distributed to the youth as well as into the women’s game.”
The Jamaican-born administrator, who grew up in North America, said starting this league goes beyond his love for sports as he hopes to use basketball to change black lives in the region.
“The league was inspired by my passion to make a difference in black communities in the Caribbean,” Dawkins said.
“I was raised in North America, so I was able to see how youth sports and professional sports were able to change lives and bring stability and security to black families and communities. I feel like I can help do that through professional basketball and structured youth sport. And hopefully, we can see a reduction in youth crime and an increase in their engagement in school and a reduction in poverty in the long-term.”
LOTS OF BENEFITS
The league, which will take place at the National Stadium, from August 13-20, is expected to bring a lot of benefits including paid opportunities and an opportunity to play internationally, according to Dawkins.
President of the Jamaica Basketball Association (JaBA), Paulton Gordon, who said he has been providing technical and administrative support to the E1BL competition, said he is looking forward to the positive impact of this league.
“The basketballers who gain scholarships are usually in the North American system and have consistent opportunities to hone their skills, not so in Jamaica, and with the pandemic what you find is that the high school basketball is just coming back on stream and the collegiate basketball has not fully restarted, so this summer league will be creating an opportunity for our local players to be playing consistently,” Gordon said.
“If all goes well then we will start our National Basketball League sometime in October, so it provides momentum for that occasion.”
Dawkins said he is pleased with the calibre of players in th summer league, which features a number of international players.
“We have players that have NCAA experience and have played professionally at different levels in Europe and South America,” he said.
Gordon said the league is a great investment in Jamaica and Caribbean basketball, and would like to see more investors support the sport locally.
“We would want to see both agencies of government and corporate companies to, first and foremost, look at how we can get a solid grassroots programme going,” he said.
“We want some more investments in leagues so that the players are playing more consistently.”