MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Memphis is known for basketball fans and talent, but COVID-19 has changed how people play and watch hoops.
Two Memphians starting an all-Memphis basketball league, and setting an example for their community in the process.
A small gym at Rising Sun Outreach Church in Whitehaven is quiet now, but starting next week, it will begin to come alive on the court and in the stands with the new Sweven League basketball.
“It’s going to be good quality basketball. We’ve got guys that have played professional basketball overseas,” said Willie Booth, a founder of Sweven League.
“Good” basketball might be an understatement. It’s a league for Memphians, by Memphians.
Memphians Booth and Darius Woods are starting the Sweven League. Nearly every player in the league played collegiately, and a handful have played pro, including former Memphis Tiger Chris Crawford and former Louisville star Chris Jones.
They’ll tip off their seven-week season on Friday, May 7.
“Through all the life, trials and tribulations, we just keep going, keep striving, keep moving forward,” Woods said.
The gym is also an opportunity for the athletes to stay sharp. Many still make their money playing ball, but it’s been harder to get overseas jobs during the pandemic.
But there’s hope the league will have a successful first season and potentially grow into the future.
“We want to build it and see how it turns out. Hopefully it’s an every year thing,” Booth said.