Seattle basketball back on a national stage


In 2011, during the NBA lockout, summer leagues like Washington D.C.’s Goodman League and Los Angeles’ Drew League received considerable attention.

For NBA players, who regularly spent their summers playing in those leagues, it became the only option for competitive, organized basketball.

The rise of mixtapes and instant videos -- passed around through Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Vine -- have also helped these regional leagues gain national exposure.

The Seattle Pro-Am has had the likes of Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, Blake Griffin, LaMarcus Aldridge, Isaiah Thomas, Nate Robinson, Tyreke Evans – and of course, Seattle’s own Jamal Crawford – appear on the Seattle Pacific University floor. With videos on YouTube and clips shown on ESPN over the years, basketball junkies have gotten a glimpse of the talent in the Seattle Pro-Am.

The league has clearly risen to the top of the summer leagues and in 2015, Rashaad Powell, the league commissioner and general manager of its TBT team, wants to take Seattle Pro-Am on a barnstorming tour, hopefully making stops in Los Angeles, Chicago and finally New York for the $1,000,000 Championship Game. 

"[TBT] gives guys an opportunity to play against national competition on a national stage. I think we have a core group of guys, who are good and competitive enough to win the entire tournament," Powell said. 

The West Region (Los Angeles) has been behind the other three regions in terms of fan votes, which actually benefits Seattle Pro-Am. Powell is still waiting for the rest of his roster to submit their verification videos, but he hasn't lost any significant ground in the standings. Seattle Pro-Am is inching closer and closer to 100 votes, not far from the top-5 in the West.

Currently on the roster is a trio of highly-skilled guards: Will Conroy, who has spent time in the NBA with three different franchises, Ryan Anderson, who has been in between the NBA D-League and NBL Canada and Justin Dentmon, another guard with NBA experience.

"The goal is to compile guys who know how to play basketball the right way," Powell added. "We'll have all different pieces: guys who can score the basketball, guys who can defend, guys who are hard-nosed, and more than anything, guys who want to win. The rest will take care of itself."

The Seattle SuperSonics left the Emerald City in 2008. Eight years later, Powell and his team want to put a national spotlight back on Seattle basketball.