So, yes, Jay Bowdy and I have made peace. If you haven't been playing along this morning, the owner of the North Texas Fresh -- that'd be Fort Worth's new entry into the American Basketball Association -- called me out this morning for ugh-ing the name of the franchise. (Wonders one Friend of Unfair Park, "Is this the first time an adjective is the official mascot of a team?") Bowdy took thought I was bad-mouthing the ABA in general and Fort Worth specifically, when I meant no such harm -- like I just told him, the name doesn't do it for me, sorry.
To which he responded: "I'm a community-based type person, and everybody says Dallas doesn't like Fort Worth and Fort Worth doesn't like Dallas, and we need to make sure the whole Metroplex gets along -- majorities and minorities -- and help all the communities." Amen to that. The D-FW peace accords have been signed.
So, that out of the way, here's a little more about the ABA's return to the DFW after my afternoon chat with the owner of the Dallas Generals: The season's scheduled to begin December 5, when the Generals are supposed to take on the Fresh at 7,500-ish-capacity Ellis Davis Field House on Polk Street, which, Generals owner Keio Gamble tells Unfair Park, will be the team's home court. The Indiana-based league is in the process of finalizing this season's schedule, but the Generals will play a 30-game regular season -- 15 home, 15 away -- that runs through March 10, after which follows the post-season.
God knows if this thing'll be a success -- which is to say, if it'll even happen. Spend a few minutes reading the posts here, and you'll wonder why anyone would even want to be associated with a league that's been troubled ever since its 2000 rebirth. And if you haven't heard much -- which is to say, anything -- about the ABA's return to Dallas 36 years later, that's because the "full-court press," as Gamble puts it, won't start till September. "And then we'll be out in the public doing appearances morning, noon and night creating the brand and connecting with the general public and making sure the Dallas Generals become as much of a household name as the Dallas Mavericks or the Dallas Cowboys."
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As it happens, there was an ABA team out of the DFW as recently as last year: the who-the-what Texas Tycoons, who were Fort Worth-based but apparently played their short season at the DeSoto Recreation Center. Gamble says that when he heard about the team going bust, he approached the ABA about franchising in Dallas. Even better, he had a recognizable name in his back pocket: the slam-dunkingest Taurian Fontenette, ex of Paul Quinn and Richland and UTEP and a man whose highlight reels clog YouTube.
"He's a friend of mine -- I've known him for years -- and he's known around the world for streetball," Gamble says. "But he's been looking for an opportunity to play structured ball. Streetballers are known for their incredible shots, for their dribbling, for dunking, but people never get the chance to see them put a full game together. He's been wanting to do that for years, so it was an opportunity for us to do it."
Now, all Gamble has to do is assemble a team around him. And find folks to buy tickets. And hope his doesn't become another cautionary tale in a league littered with them.
"Right now, I'm feeling optimisim, anxiety, caution -- all of the adjectives you can think of," he says. (How about "fresh"? Sorry. So sorry.). "But one thing I believe is everybody's dream has the same chance of becoming a reality, so we need to do our due diligence and whatever else is necessary to make sure ours comes true. And this this is not just a dream of mine or Taurian's. The entire staff, we share the vision. I like the ABA style of basketball, the flair and the red-white-and-blue ball."