The AEBL has become one of the most heralded street basketball leagues in Atlanta. In its second year, the league has attracted top NBA players, hip-hop artists and other celebrities who have taken part in the weekend festivities during the summer.
The summer tournament will crown its second champion this weekend at Central Park in Atlanta.
Rolling out recently caught up with AEBL founder, Jah Rawlings, to discuss what fans can expect from championship weekend.
What were your expectations when planning for the second year of the AEBL?
We wanted to grow the league and the brand and to build the culture here in Atlanta. We also wanted it to be one of the best summer leagues in the country.
What have been the three biggest moments of the season thus far?
Number one would be the unveiling of the hardwood floor outside. It’s never been done in the city or better yet in the entire southeast in summer league basketball. Second, would be Lou Williams (Toronto Raptors) scoring 50 and breaking the scoring record set a day earlier by Cam Tatum (42). Last but not least, Marquis (Tee) Cummings 3 point shot to take the Street Execs into overtime and eventually a win to takeover the No. 1 spot from defending champs TIG/GoldGang.
How has the AEBL helped to bring the community together?
It’s important to bring positivity and fun to the Atlanta community. We have worked hard with local organizations and influencers to create great events and community initiatives that people love and want to be a part of such as Kidney For Prima with the National Kidney Foundation, our Back To School Drive, Atlanta Voter Outreach and tons of entertainment and celebrity guests.
What can spectators expect from the upcoming championship weekend?
We are pulling out all the stops for this weekend. I don’t want to let the cat out of the bag too soon, so I’ll just say the whole city needs to come out and witness the new staple in the city.
What has been the biggest lesson you have learned during this season?
Roll with the punches, there’s never a such thing as too much preplanning and preparation for something of this nature. And most importantly, always keep the focus on building the AEBL brand in summer league basketball.
How do you hope to expand the brand with the next season?
The crazy thing is we are already working on next year. There’s a lot of space and room to grow and build a bigger platform. I’m definitely looking to expand and the amount of teams, we are going to work really hard to add a youth league which is one of my top priorities in growing the league. And there will be a lot of other dynamic things we do next year that we might have missed out on this year, but all I can say is stay tuned.