NBA Development League Expands to Des Moines
NEW YORK, February 27, 2007 - The NBA Development League (D-League) has awarded an expansion team to Des Moines, Iowa for the 2007-08 season, NBA Commissioner David Stern announced today. The team will play at the Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines. Expansion teams in Orem, Utah and the Rio Grande Valley in South Texas have already been announced, boosting the number of teams to 15 for the 2007-08 season.
The team in Des Moines is owned and operated by Iowa Basketball, LLC, a group composed of Des Moines businessmen and community leaders led by Des Moines attorney Jerry Crawford and also including Gary Kirke, Sheldon Ohringer and Paul Drey. Global Spectrum, the management firm that oversees Wells Fargo Arena, will also be a strategic partner.
"The D-League continues to provide the NBA and its teams the opportunity to cultivate talent, test ideas and give young players a means to improve through game competition," said Stern. "That commitment, coupled with delivering the game of basketball in an affordable, fun and family-oriented atmosphere, has more investors such as these in Des Moines seeking to bring the D-League experience to their communities.
"Our minor league has a proven track record of developing talent both on and off the court, a trend we expect to continue," said Stern. "Since the D-League's inaugural season in 2001-02, more than 100 players, coaches, referees, athletic trainers and front-office personnel have moved to NBA teams or the league office."
For the second season, NBA teams are continuing to utilize an assignment system with its D-League affiliates. Twenty-six NBA teams have assigned 49 players to D-League teams over the last two seasons, including 20 assigned players already during the 2006-07 season. Since the D-League began play in 2001-02, NBA teams have also called up 59 players a total of 79 times.
"All of the elements are in place for success in Iowa. We have an energetic local ownership group, a great place to play with Wells Fargo Arena and the NBA committed to make the Development League work," said Crawford. "My entire family has fallen in love with the NBA while living part time in Phoenix over the last four years. We can't wait to bring that same kind of NBA excitement as an entertainment option to Des Moines."
The D-League currently includes the Albuquerque Thunderbirds (N.M.), Anaheim Arsenal (Calif.), Arkansas RimRockers (Little Rock), Austin Toros (Texas), Bakersfield Jam (Calif.), Colorado 14ers (Broomfield), Dakota Wizards (Bismarck, N.D.), Fort Worth Flyers (Texas), Idaho Stampede (Boise), Los Angeles D-Fenders (Calif.), Sioux Falls Skyforce (S.D.) and Tulsa 66ers (Okla.).
"We've put together an outstanding local ownership group" said D-League President Phil Evans, "and together, we're going to bring NBA-style basketball and first class entertainment to a community that is passionate about its basketball and hungry for quality entertainment. We're also fortunate to be playing in a state-of-the-art arena. I can't wait for opening night."
The D-League continues to develop talent from across all disciplines for the NBA's 30 teams and the entire NBA umbrella. In addition to the assignment of 20 NBA players to D-League affiliates this season, there have also been 11 GATORADE Call-Ups from the D-League to the NBA. Additionally, every referee hired by the NBA since 2002 has worked in the D-League, while coaches, athletic trainers and front office executives are also being developed.
Designed to help grow the sport of basketball both domestically and internationally, the D-League also offers fun, family entertainment at affordable prices. For additional information on the NBA Development League, visit D-LEAGUE.com.
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