Cleveland, OH – October 3, 2019 – Ricky Volante, CEO of the Historical Basketball League (HBL), and David West, COO of the HBL, today announced the addition of several new members to the league’s Advisory Board and Athlete Advisory Board.
The HBL is the first professional college basketball league. The HBL will compensate and educate athletes, allowing players to directly benefit from their talent, marketability, and hard work without having to sacrifice their educational opportunities or leave the United States. As the HBL transforms from concept to reality, it is disrupting the amateurism model and shifting the landscape of collegiate athletics. As a result, the HBL’s Executive Team places great importance on the role of the HBL’s Advisory Council (Advisory Board, Athlete Advisory Board, and Academic Advisory Board). Comprised of influencers from various industries critical to the long-term success of the HBL, the Advisory Council includes current and former elite college and professional athletes, experienced higher education professionals, and leaders in sports marketing and management. Members of the HBL Advisory Council bring vast experience in the fields of technology, finance & investment, sports, media & content, legal, and academics.
The HBL Advisory Board works closely with the HBL Executive Team to provide input on decisions related to overall strategic planning and execution of the HBL's mission and vision. New to the HBL Advisory Board are Damon Jones – former Senior Director of Player Development at the NBA; Ameesh Paleja – Founder of Atom Tickets and Chief Technology Officer at OfferUp; Manny Ojobaro – Finance Manager at CapitalG; and LJ Kwak Yang – leadership and business developer, entrepreneur, investor, and former Googler.
“We are very excited to announce our new Advisory Board members. Damon, Ameesh, Manny, and LJ bring significant expertise in fundraising, media content creation and distribution, sports sponsorships, and college and professional basketball,” said Ricky Volante. “We are thrilled that they have joined the HBL Advisory Board and look forward to the many ways in which they will leverage their experience and resources to provide the league with strategic guidance as we transition into the next critical growth phase, which includes finalizing our media and apparel partnerships, hiring coaches, recruiting players, and much more.”
Damon Jones said, “In the 19 years that I have worked with elite collegiate and professional athletes, one of my main goals has been to ensure athletes are given ample mentorship and support. I am impressed with the unique resources the HBL has in place to help empower college basketball players on and off the court, and I am excited to be a part of this movement that will greatly enrich each player’s experience. Focusing on the players' individual development and using basketball as a means to shape their off-the-court aspirations will maximize their opportunities now and in the future.”
“It’s an exciting time to be joining the HBL Advisory Board. My hope is to compliment the already talented HBL Executive Team with my experience in the tech and media spaces, as they lay the groundwork to launch the league’s inaugural season and connect with basketball fans across the country,” said Ameesh Paleja.
Joining the HBL Athlete Advisory Board to counsel the Executive Team on matters critical to the experiences of athletes in the HBL and serve as mentors to the league’s players are: Chekesha Johnson – actress, model, and former basketball player at the University Arkansas at Pine Bluff; Emily Hu – world record setting powerlifter and medical device researcher; and Nadia Eke – Ghanaian Olympic triple jumper.
Regarding these additions, COO David West said, “We are excited to welcome Chekesha, Emily, and Nadia to our Athlete Advisory Board. I'm proud that the HBL is taking a leading role in providing athletes rarely afforded and meaningful opportunities to engage in the management and ownership of sports. I look forward to more pro athletes taking advantage of the HBL’s multiple options for involvement, whether as a league investor, advisory board member, or team ambassador."
Chekesha Johnson added to West's sentiments saying, "As a former college basketball player, I am pleased to be part of executing a vision that will change the status quo and allow college athletes to be justly compensated for their significant contributions. As a Millennial, I want to change the future for the next generation of athletes. I look forward to working with this incredibly seasoned and talented group of current and former professional athletes as we pave the way for the future of college athletes."
Emily Hu stated, “As a former professional athlete, I'm excited to join the HBL because I believe that college athletes should never have to risk their education and their future to play a sport at the highest level. I was fortunate enough to receive the education of my choice from a top college, so I will never have to rely on my athletic ability to put food on the table. I’m passionate about helping other talented young athletes succeed off the court, and the HBL’s vision gives college athletes that opportunity.”
The HBL has secured backing from over a dozen investors from a range of industries and backgrounds and is preparing to launch its inaugural season in eight cities: Philadelphia, Baltimore, District of Columbia (D.C.), Richmond, Norfolk, Raleigh, Charlotte, and Atlanta. The HBL expects to finalize its domestic media partnership in the coming weeks and will then shift its focus to hiring head coaches and securing an apparel partner, as well as continuing to engage and recruit 4-star and 5-star prospects. Expect more exciting news from the HBL, including updates on coaches, players, team names and logos, as well as further details on team and league sponsorships and partnerships.
Press inquiries for interviews, additional facts, and images should be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org. To keep up to date, follow the HBL on Twitter (@hb_league) and Instagram (@hbleague).
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