|Fort Wayne Mayor Graham Richard and NBA Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer Shawn Smith of the NBA D-League, hands a ball to John Zeglis, founding member of the Fort Wayne Basketball Group at a news conference announcing a new D-League team at Allen County War Memorial Coliseum April 10, 2007 in Fort Wayne, Indiana.|
(Photo: Ron Hoskins/NBAE/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, April 10, 2007 – The NBA Development League (D-League) has awarded an expansion team to Fort Wayne, Ind. for the 2007-08 season, NBA Commissioner David Stern announced today. The team will play at the Allen County War Memorial Coliseum. Expansion teams in Orem, Utah, the Rio Grande Valley in South Texas and Des Moines, Iowa have already been announced, boosting the number of teams to 16 for the 2007-08 season.
The team in Fort Wayne is owned and operated by Fort Wayne Basketball Group, LLC, led by majority owner and former AT&T executive John Zeglis. The remainder of the ownership group consists of Jay Frye, Denny Sutton, Mike Thomas, Gary and Adam Probst, Tim and Tom Borne, Matt Momper, Chad and Diana Parent and Bruce Patterson.
“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 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 48 players to D-League teams over the last two seasons, including 24 assigned players this season. Since the D-League began play in 2001-02, NBA teams have also called up 62 players a total of 86 times, including a record 15 players 20 times in 2006-07.
“I am delighted to have the opportunity to do business with David Stern and the NBA again. When I was President of AT&T, we had a terrific advertising and sponsorship relationship with the NBA,” said Zeglis. “That relationship, in no small measure, has led to bringing the NBA Development League and NBA-branded entertainment to my home state.”
"We are proud to have the opportunity to bring professional basketball back to Fort Wayne and especially to be able to do so with such a strong relationship with the NBA,” said Frye, who served as managing partner of the Fort Wayne Fury of the Continental Basketball Association. “The first 10 years of my professional experience in Fort Wayne provided many great memories for my family. I am excited to again help provide a great family entertainment option for this community."
“The opportunity to partner with the NBA to bring professional basketball back to Fort Wayne is absolutely fantastic,” said Sutton, a Fort Wayne attorney and member of the Fury ownership group. “We look forward to a great relationship.”
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 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. We're also fortunate to be playing in a state-of-the-art building. I can't wait for opening night."
Established 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.