Throughout the past decade, Atlanta has prided itself as the home to pros like Dwight Howard, Jaylen Brown, Collin Sexton, Isaac Okoro, Diamond DeShields, Lexie Brown, Te’a Cooper, Sharife Cooper, Anthony Edwards, Brandon Goodwin, Bj Boston, Malik Beasley, Josh Powell, Lou Williams, Josh Okogie and Maya Moore.
But it’s becoming increasingly apparent with a blowout win over the Dykeman basketball league in New York, that there is a regional shift in in basketball dominance.
At the center of this shift is a summer pro-am summer league that has brought out Atlanta’s brightest stars to take in the action at the Atlanta Entertainment Basketball League. For its 10th season, AEBL has partnered with Adidas to become the league’s official sponsor. As the league kicked off season No. 10 on July 2, rolling out caught up with league CEO Jah Rawlings about the future of the league.
You guys have a new partnership to announce. What is it?
We’re a part of the Adidas family now. It’s been a hugely exciting time for us, and the city is super excited. My team, everybody who has been helping me build AEBL. We literally said the other day this is that time we’ve been waiting for, so I’m really thankful to (Adidas director of Grassroots Basketball) ReeCee (Hollans) and the rest of the Adidas basketball family for believing in our vision and everything we’ve been building here in Atlanta for the past 10 years. It’s time to take over the city.
It’s an ironic fit to have Anthony Edwards, who’s from Atlanta, be an Adidas guy, and the face of Atlanta basketball in Trae Young, also be an Adidas guy, too. Was this choice made to align with that?
I think there’s a natural progression to grow for AEBL where Ant-Man and Trae definitely being two athletes that are really putting on for the city, and they’re a part of what we’re doing in building AEBL. I think it’s just the synergy of it all brought together made sense, but that definitely wasn’t the strategy. It was more like what we’ve been building.
I’ve always thought Adidas was really huge for Atlanta basketball, at least when I moved here, that’s really all people who talked about with the legacy of the Atlanta Celtics’ program and then the NBA guys, who have come out of here. I believe in the universe and aligning. I think we’re at the right time for something really huge and impactful in the city with Adidas basketball.
What impact do you think this partnership has on not just the basketball league, but everything else you all do in the community?
Everything we do in the city that’s basketball driven has a major impact back to the Community. Us leveling and keeping the platform for the next generation, which Adidas basketball is huge with doing, is always at the forefront for us.