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NBA Development League Expands To Anaheim

NEW YORK, April 11 – The NBA Development League (D-League) has awarded an expansion team to Anaheim, Calif. for the 2006-07 season, NBA Commissioner David Stern announced today. The team will play at The Arena at the Anaheim Convention Center.

“NBA teams have embraced the NBA Development League as a place to give their young roster players the opportunity to improve and as a source for game-tested talent in case of injury,” said Stern. “As a result, more investors are seeking to bring the D-League to their communities. We look forward to growing the league through ownership that is committed to the community, engaged with fans and passionate about the game. Our newest ownership group shares those values with us and our vision of creating family entertainment at affordable prices.

“Our minor league has a proven track record of developing talent both on and off the court, with more than 100 players, coaches, referees, athletic trainers and front-office personnel moving to NBA teams or the league office, and we look for that trend to continue.”

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Anaheim joins the previously announced expansion Dakota Wizards (N.D.), Idaho Stampede (Boise), Colorado 14ers (Broomfield), Sioux Falls Skyforce (S.D.) and Bakersfield Jam (Calif.) as new markets for the 2006-07 season. Current D-League teams include the Albuquerque Thunderbirds (N.M.), Arkansas RimRockers (Little Rock), Austin Toros (Texas), Fayetteville Patriots (N.C.), Florida Flame (Ft. Myers), Fort Worth Flyers (Texas), Roanoke Dazzle (Va.) and Tulsa 66ers (Okla.).

The team will be owned and operated by Anaheim Basketball, LLC, which is composed of Anaheim area business owners Thomas and Louise Jones, Roy Englebrecht, John Younesi, Jan Yoss and Gino Kwok.

The Jones’ are majority owners of the team. In 1965, Thomas Jones co-founded the Rodriguez-Jones Group of partnerships that was later renamed Countywide Property Management, Inc., privately investing in and managing residential and commercial real estate in Orange and Los Angeles Counties. The success of the firm led to diversified personal management, investment and community activities.

"Knowing Anaheim's early history, as well as being an Anaheim property owner and businessman since 1973, I am continually impressed,” Thomas Jones said. “As has been the history in so many unique Anaheim projects, I believe our Anaheim NBA D-League team will be a great success."

Englebrecht is owner of Roy Englebrecht Events, California’s second-largest boxing promotions company. Younesi, Yoss and Kwok are partners in the Southern California law firm of Younesi & Yoss, LLC. Younesi is also President and CEO of the Southern California Summer Pro League.

"Having been involved with the development of players through the NBA Summer League, I know how integral a local D-League team will be to the careers of young players,” Younesi said. “The D-League is the future of basketball for developing players. It will not be too far off into the future when Commissioner Stern announces that one of the top NBA draft picks is being selected from our Anaheim team.”

"In 1986, Mark Harmon and I had the opportunity to purchase a minor league baseball franchise in the California League and move it to San Bernardino and later Rancho Cucamonga,” Englebrecht said. “Now I have an opportunity to be involved in the birth of another credible professional sports team, bringing basketball fans and sports fans of Orange County their first taste of the NBA through a D-League team.”

“This ownership groups possesses the talent and experience to ensure a successful basketball product both on and off the floor. We are excited to continue to move the D-League forward by tapping into their knowledge and enthusiasm,” NBA D-League President Phil Evans said. “Assets you seek when deciding to grow a league are local ownership groups with both business and basketball acumen, a receptive market and favorable arena deals. Anaheim meets that criteria and then some.”

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