The Historical Basketball League: will it make history and change college basketball?

The Athletic
july 22, 2019

Professional college athlete. It may sound like an oxymoron, especially given the NCAA’s longstanding efforts to distinguish “college” basketball from its professional counterparts. The Historical Basketball League, however, intends to make the term a reality and conventional wisdom. [continue reading]

Players Technology Summit - A New League Approach

June 27, 2019

Speakers: Mike Rabil, Co-Founder & CEO, Premier Lacrosse League; David West, Chief Operating Officer, Historical Basketball League; Interviewer: Richard Smith, Senior Business Manager, LinkedIn [watch here]

Hang Up and Listen: The Buffalo Mexico City Bills Edition

slate’s hang up and listen
june 24, 2019

Slate’s Joel Anderson then joins for a conversation with former NBA star David West about Zion Williamson, the NBA draft, and the Historical Basketball League—the startup that’s offering amateur players a new route to professionalism. [listen here]

NCAA Play-For-Pay Alternative The HBL's Success Contingent Upon Elite Talent

Forbes sportsmoney
june 13, 2019

The Historical Basketball League (HBL) has been gaining steam as of late, most noticeably attracting headlines when announcing former NBA star David West would be the upstart NCAA alternative’s COO. [continue reading]


sportsnet 590 the fan
june 12, 2019

Two-time NBA All-Star & ex-Warrior David West on Kevin Durant's injury, how hard it is to close out a series and his involvement with The Historical Basketball League (2:01:03). [listen here]

Source: College basketball pay-for-play alternative HBL’s inaugural host cities

CBB Today
june 10, 2019

With the HBL set to launch in 2020, people who are advocating for student-athletes to receive monetary compensation have been keeping a watchful eye on the league. A full league update is expected later on Monday, but a source has provided CBBToday with a full list of the college basketball alternative’s inaugural cities. [continue reading]

RJ Hampton Going Pro Basketball May Change College Basketball

The Unafraid show
june 2, 2019

Furthermore, the NCAA may soon be threatened by a start-up basketball league that seeks to pay its players and give them scholarships. That league is the Historical Basketball League (HBL). [continue reading]

West: Warriors Must Find A Way To Get It Done

taz and the moose, Cbs sports radio
june 7, 2019

West, 38, also discussed his new business venture, the Historical Basketball League (HBL), which will serve as a secondary option for college basketball players. The league, which plans to launch in the summer of 2020, will pay players between $50,000 and $100,000 and give them full college scholarships. [continue reading]

Andre Iguodala On 'The Sixth Man,' Retirement And The Pressures Faced By The Modern Athlete

FORBES Sportsmoney
may 28, 2019

Iguodala: Well, I think what David is trying to do is looking out for the athlete first. He’s kind of putting them in a professional atmosphere as to this is what you’re preparing for. It’s almost like a paid internship, similar to what college is supposed to be but you know won’t ever be because economically there’s too much money involved and the people that are benefiting from it don’t want to give it up. [continue reading]

The NCAA Is Losing Its Fight To Keep Exploiting College Athletes

APRIL 6, 2019

That means the most imminent and dangerous threat facing the NCAA today could come not from regulators or lawmakers but from the free market itself ― in the form of another league or organization that tries to beat the NCAA at its own game. [continue reading]

David West Questions Everything—and His Sport and America Are Better for It

The Daily beast
March 27, 2019

It was either David West’s first or second season in professional basketball, but he can’t quite pin it down. No matter. The off-court moment will remain with him for the rest of his life. [continue reading]

Summer hoops league to offer a paid alternative to NCAA in 2020, two-time NBA champion David West says

March 15, 2019

Top young basketball players will soon have a choice of whether to take their talents to college hoops or to an alternate paid summer league while continuing to pursue their education, retired NBA champion David West told CNBC on Friday. [continue reading]

why this former nba champion wants to pay college basketball players

wall street journal
february 25, 2019

As a star basketball player at Xavier University in the early 2000s, David West never questioned the NCAA’s amateurism model. Then he got to the NBA… [continue reading]

Overtime: Paying players, challenging the NCAA

woio cleveland 19 action news
march 1, 2019

A new basketball league in Cleveland, is promising to pay its players, award scholarships and hopefully challenge the NCAA. [watch here]

This could be Historic: HoopsHD interviews Historical Basketball League CEO/Co-Founder Ricky Volante

hoops hd
by: jon teitel

I do not know if anyone can save this sport but one man who wants to offer other options is Ricky Volante, CEO/Co-Founder of the Historical Basketball League. [continue reading]

With time ticking on 2020 goal, Cleveland-based HBL faces its biggest challenge: Recruiting top prospects

Crain’s cleveland business
by: kevin kleps

Cleveland attorney Ricky Volante and Bay Area antitrust economist Andy Schwarz knew there would be a ton of skepticism regarding their decision to start a basketball league that would compete with the NCAA for top high school recruits. [continue reading]

david west looks to start a new college basketball league paying players

sports illustrated
by: khadrice rollins

Former NBA player David West is looking to start a basketball league to rival the NCAA. [continue reading]

Ex-Warrior David West’s next goal: Start a college league that pays players

San Francisco chronicle
by: connor letourneau

In August 2018, when David West announced his retirement from the NBA, Warriors head coach Steve Kerr voiced confidence that West would be successful in whatever post-playing career he chose. [continue reading]

David West is trying to start a paid college basketball league

sb nation: golden state of mind
by: brady klopfer

Former Golden State Warriors big man David West retired at the conclusion of last season, but he’s staying near basketball. And the two-time All-Star’s latest project might be even more impressive than anything he did on the court - and he did some impressive things on the court. [continue reading]

David West discusses role of Historical Basketball League chief operating officer

cincinnati enquirer
by: dave clark

Former Xavier University basketball standout David West - who will serve as the chief operating officer of the Historical Basketball League - says in a feature by's Brian Costa about West's role with the new league that the goal is to recruit top high school players for a summer season that would begin in 2020 and bring "what's going on under the table above the table." [continue reading]

HBL CEO Ricky volante & COO David West join mark moyer

Make your mark podcast
February 21, 2019

HBL CEO Ricky volante joins More sports & Les levine

More sports & les levine
january 16, 2019

The Official McCoy Podcast - Jelani McCoy w/ Ricky Volante + David West

The Official McCoy podcast
By: jelani mccoy

Jelani welcomes HBL CEO Ricky Volante to discuss everything that the HBL is trying to accomplish. Also, HBL COO David West talks about his first venture after retirement and how this league stacks up to the NCAA. [listen here]

SI Now Friday December 21, 2018

sports illustrated
By: si now

Guests: Lennox Lewis, David West and Jonathan Jones. David West on the HBL at 16:26. [listen here]

At Large with Alex Wong

The SCore
By: alex wong

Ricky Volante, CEO of the HBL, and David West, COO, join the podcast to talk about why they’re part of a project to give incoming college players an alternative to playing in the NCAA. [listen here]

4 SZNS NBA Podcast #88 Champion edition

By: zak noble

Joined by 2x NBA and HBL COO Champion David West and CEO Ricky Volante to discuss disrupting college basketball and David’s career. [listen here…]

the right time with bomani jones: David west

espn radio

Bomani is joined by 2x NBA champion with the Warriors and COO of the brand new "Historic Basketball League" David West. [listen here]

Startup basketball league based in Cleveland says it can compete with the NCAA

Crain’s cleveland business journal
By: kevin kleps

In 18 months, the Historical Basketball League plans to launch with games in 12 cities. [continue reading]

Interview w/Ricky Volante: Historical Basketball League Plans to Disrupt NCAA

the unafraid show
By: kassandra ramsey

Should college athletes be paid? The Historical Basketball League says yes. The HBL is a start-up basketball league that plans to disrupt the NCAA’s current economic model. [continue reading]

Cleveland-based Historical Basketball League hires David West, will pay college players up to $150K

Crain’s cleveland business journal
By: kevin kleps

A Cleveland-based basketball league that aims to turn the NCAA model on its proverbial head has added a two-time NBA All-Star to its list of top executives. [continue reading]

Ohio Lawyer May/June 2018

Beyond the Courtroom - Ricky Volante and the Historical Basketball League
By: Zoe Legato

This could be what finally ends the charade of amateurism... [continue reading] (Pages 18-20 online version)



The HBL and NFL Hall of Famer Terrell Owens Announce Historic Partnership

June 24, 2019

Ricky Volante, CEO of the Historical Basketball League (HBL), and David West, COO of the HBL, announced Terrell Owens is partnering with the league to become its first Official Team Ambassador.

The HBL is the first college basketball league to compensate and educate its athletes.  The league will begin play in June 2020 with an inaugural schedule of eight teams in East Coast cities spanning the Mid-Atlantic and Piedmont regions.  With its athlete-centric model, the HBL does not have traditional team owners, opting instead for coupling investor-operators groups and team ambassadors.

As a Team Ambassador, Owens will serve as an influencer and marketing face of one of the HBL teams.  He will work with the HBL’s management team to identify and secure local sponsors, partners, and investors.  Additionally, Terrell will serve as a mentor and resource to the athletes. HBL CEO Ricky Volante said, “Terrell’s interest in positively and meaningfully impacting the next generation of athletes made him an obvious choice as a Team Ambassador for the HBL.”

TO announcement.jpg

Owens, a Hall of Fame wide receiver, ranks third all-time in career receiving yards (15,934) and touchdowns (153).  Throughout his 16-year NFL career, Owens played for the San Francisco 49ers, Philadelphia Eagles, Dallas Cowboys, Buffalo Bills, and Cincinnati Bengals.  Owens was selected in the 3rd round of the 1996 NFL Draft by the San Francisco 49ers after graduating from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga.

Owens’s experiences in the NFL and at UT-Chattanooga give him a first-hand understanding of how the current college sports system does not meet the needs of college athletes.  Owens was drawn to the HBL because of the league’s mission – developing athletes for careers in basketball and beyond, and providing meaningful educational opportunities, all without requiring athletes to sacrifice their fair share of the revenues they generate.  On joining the HBL, Owens said, "The change the HBL is bringing is long overdue, and I'm thrilled to join as the first Official Team Ambassador. An athlete-first model that will treat college athletes equitably and as partners is needed, and I'm excited to be a part of its development."

HBL COO David West was thrilled to be able to start working with the NFL Hall of Famer.  West said, “I’ve always admired TO. After speaking with him about the HBL, it was clear that we felt similarly about creating an equitable opportunity for college athletes, one that puts the athletes first.  Ricky and I look forward to working collaboratively with Terrell to see the HBL vision realized.”

Before the HBL, basketball players were excluded from the lion’s share of financial benefits while everyone around them received significant compensation.  The HBL provides a new and better opportunity, one without economic and academic exploitation. The HBL’s players are projected to earn between $50,000 and $150,000 per season based on athletic talent and marketability, in addition to receiving a guaranteed scholarship and having the ability to fully commercialize their name, image, and likeness, all without jeopardizing their eligibility with the HBL.

Other industry veterans are impressed as well.  Luke Bonner, owner of Power Forward Sports Group and HBL Advisory Board member, said, “What the HBL is doing is truly groundbreaking, building a bridge between the professional athlete community and the next generation of top talent.  These Ambassadors will help prepare athletes for the professional game in a way not offered by the current system.”

June has been a busy month for the HBL.  In addition to bringing Owens on board, the HBL announced it was launching its 2020 season in eight cities: Philadelphia, Baltimore, District of Columbia (D.C.), Richmond, Norfolk, Raleigh, Charlotte, and Atlanta.

HBL CEO Ricky Volante explained that with Owens on board as the first Team Ambassador, the HBL was on track to meet its goal of being the premier destination for NBA-bound college athletes and thus creating must-see basketball for anyone interested in watching future all-stars during their college careers.  “Our Team Ambassador roles enable current and former professional athletes to participate in the strategic development and implementation of the HBL’s business model – something they are currently excluded from with other professional leagues. Athletes have an incredible wealth of knowledge, and value far beyond what they can do on the field. In addition to addressing inequality affecting college athletes, we believe that more former athletes should be represented in senior management positions of professional sports leagues.  We (and Terrell) expect that others will continue to join us in fixing college basketball and the role of athletes in sports more broadly.”

Volante promised more news in the coming weeks and months as the league plans to roll out the initial members of the HBL’s Athlete Advisory Board, team names and logos, as well as to announce further details of sponsorships and partnerships as the HBL moves toward its June 2020 launch.

Press inquiries for interviews, additional facts, and images should be directed to  To keep up to date, follow the HBL on Twitter (@hb_league) and Instagram (@hbleague).

June Open Letter From Ricky Volante, HBL CEO

June 10, 2019

In the six months since hiring David West as the HBL’s COO, our Management Team has been hard at work. With approximately one year until our June 2020 launch, I want to recap what we’ve accomplished and what to expect in the coming weeks.

Inaugural Cities of the HBL

Our team reviewed the Prospective City List carefully, focusing on: (1) market size, (2) the local basketball market, (3) school and educational options, (4) venue options, (5)the city’s appeal to potential recruits, (6) cost of living, (7) proximity to elite talent, (8) commercial marketability, and (9) the geographic footprint of the HBL. Upon concluding our review process, we determined that the following cities will be the Inaugural Eight:

  • Atlanta, GA

  • Baltimore, MD

  • Charlotte, NC

  • Norfolk, VA

  • Philadelphia, PA

  • Raleigh, NC

  • Richmond, VA

  • Washington, DC

The Inaugural Eight includes three of the top 10 markets by greater metropolitan area population in the US (Atlanta (9th), Philadelphia (8th), and DC (6th)), five of the top 25 markets by greater metropolitan area population  (Baltimore (21st) and Charlotte (22nd)), and three of the Top 10 highest rated local markets for NBA viewership  (Norfolk (1st), Raleigh (7th), and Richmond (8th)).

If you have not already noticed, the Inaugural Eight are located on the East Coast, in close proximity within the Mid-Atlantic and Piedmont. These teams will eventually be known as the eastern division (or conference) of the HBL. Over the course of the next five years, the HBL will launch additional divisions of eight teams in the other quadrants of the US.

Why start with the East? In addition to the market size and basketball interest within these markets, we wanted to align ourselves where much of the best talent in the country already resides.


Additions to the HBL Advisory Board

We have added several important members to the HBL Advisory Board:

  • Manny Ojobaro is the Interim Head of Finance at Capital G, a private equity firm under Alphabet, Inc., the parent company of Google. Manny has a strong background in finance, investments and transactions, having also held positions with EY and Google.

  • LJ Kwak Yang is a leadership and business developer, entrepreneur, investor, and former Googler. LJ has considerable experience in guiding start-ups, developing leaders, and interacting with the investment community.

We’re excited to welcome Manny and LJ and look forward to working with them.

Creation of the Athlete Advisory Board

David and I often mention that we are working to add current and former professional athletes to the HBL Athlete Advisory Board (AAB). The HBL AAB members will serve as mentors to our players and further as a resource to the HBL, especially when making critical decisions that will impact our athletes and the direction of the League. We feel that athletes should have an important voice in the growth and future direction of the HBL. Professional athletes are typically blocked from these kinds of opportunities because the barriers to entry within ownership groups of professional teams are often too high.

The initial members of the AAB will be announced later this week, and we expect to add more people in the coming weeks, especially as the NBA playoffs conclude.

RJ Hampton Goes Abroad and Kenyon Martin Jr. Decommits From Vanderbilt

As many have already discussed, RJ Hampton, a consensus top 5 prospect from the Class of 2019, announced that he will forego all US-based basketball opportunities to play with the NBL Breakers (New Zealand) next season. A week later, Kenyon Martin Jr. decided to decommit from Vanderbilt and announced that he, too, will be playing overseas next season.

What does this mean? Well the obvious answer is that the US-based basketball options for players after high school (but pre-NBA) are flawed. If they weren’t, why would players feel the need to look elsewhere? But rather than dwelling on the downside of this situation, the good news is that starting with the Class of 2020, no player will have to choose between: (1) compensation abroad, (2) playing with 25-year olds domestically, or (3) being exploited for all they are worth domestically. Instead, they will have the opportunity to join the HBL and receive meaningful educational opportunities while being compensated, all without feeling the need to move 5,000 miles away. This won’t be limited to athletes straight out of high school either, as returning players from previous recruiting classes will have the opportunity to join the HBL as sophomores, juniors, or seniors without having to enter the transfer portal.

Looking Ahead

There is still much to accomplish between now and next June. Looking ahead, there will be many more things to announce in the coming days and weeks.

Coaching Search

We have begun the process of identifying and contacting potential head and assistant coaches for our teams. This will be a critical component of our overall strategy for recruiting players. It’s crucial that a player and his family feel comfortable knowing that our coaches will be of the necessary caliber to holistically develop and prepare them for the next stage of their career. We’re looking forward to wowing the world with these, and anticipate making our first hire within the next month.

Additions to the Management Team

As with growing any business, it is important to build a team that is talented and mission-aligned, and it’s no different for the HBL. As the hiring of David legitimized our efforts in the basketball community, we will be adding additional members to the Management Team soon that will have NBA front office, player representation, and/or college basketball coaching and operations experience. These additions will contribute to the HBL’s business and basketball operations.

Team Intellectual Property

Now that our cities have been unveiled, our design team has begun to identify potential names and color schemes for each city. Upon finalizing each team name, we will then begin the process of developing a logo/mark and corresponding merchandise. Local artists in each market will have the opportunity to participate in the development process, as we try to capture the essence and vibe of each city.

Team Ambassadors

As an extension of the Advisory Board and Athlete Advisory Board, the HBL will be announcing Team Ambassadors for each of the inaugural eight teams. Ambassadors will be one of the public faces for our teams as they enter the world’s consciousness. Think Spike and the Knicks, though the Ambassador will be more than just the team’s super-fan. HBL Team Ambassadors will be far more involved in the business side of the League, whether as part of each city’s operational team, as an HBL shareholder, and/or even as a coach. As with the other personnel announcements, get ready to be really excited.


Since David joined the Management Team in November we have welcomed a series of new investors, and will continue to. One of the most exciting parts of the regional model we’re implementing is that it drastically reduces the first-year operational costs of the League. We took heed of the AAF’s collapse and wanted to establish a strong footing that will allow the HBL to steadily grow in the coming years, while not taking an all-or-nothing approach at the onset. Our  plan lets us get the HBL right with a regional footprint and then roll it out nationally over the course of the next half decade.

Player Recruiting

Speaking of rollout, scouting for the HBL’s first 100 players has officially begun! As the summer season ramps up, we will continue to identify our targets in the Class of 2020, as well as current college players and top international prospects.  Don’t expect to hear actual names until towards the end of the year or even 2020, as we remain respectful of our targeted athletes’ need to maintain varsity eligibility until they are ready to make their move to the HBL. As these names hit the news, you’ll be able to see why the HBL is confident we will be the premier college basketball league in the world, and that #AmateurismIsACon.

***Statements in this letter that refer to forecasts, future plans, or expectations are forward-looking statements that involve a number of risks and uncertainties. Statements that refer to or are based on projections, uncertain events, or assumptions also identify forward-looking statements. Such statements are based on the company’s current expectations and involve many risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from those expressed or implied in these forward-looking statements.

HBL Statement on Alston Decision from CEO Ricky Volante

MArch 9, 2019

The HBL management team are experts in the business of sports and the legal issues surrounding compensation of college athletes. We have seen this story play out before: a court ruling chastises the NCAA, but the decision lacks teeth to meaningfully provide justice to college athletes. Equity for college athletes will not come from a court decision, and will certainly not come from the NCAA suddenly deciding to do the right thing. This is exactly why we founded the Historical Basketball League. [continue reading]


Paying College Athletes Will Not Ruin College Sports

MArch 6, 2019

In a recent opinion piece for the New York Times, Cody McDavis trotted out a series of stale and mostly discredited arguments against antitrust remedies proposed by the plaintiffs in the Alston v. NCAA case. He argued the proposed remedies would lead to the death of college sports. His lead thesis claims that unravelling the pay caps imposed by the NCAA would “distort the economics of college sports.” McDavis has confused cause with effect, poison with cure. [continue reading]



November 18, 2018


The Historical Basketball League (HBL) is the first college basketball league to compensate and educate its players based on their market value. [continue reading]


The HBL and McGowan PAE Finalize Partnership

March 27, 2018

The Historical Basketball League (HBL) announced a partnership with McGowan PAE (Professional Athletes & Entertainers), a division of The McGowan Companies. [continue reading]

The HBL Elite 25 – Class of 2019

February 1, 2018

The Historical Basketball League released the HBL Elite 25 High School Basketball Players for the Class of 2019. The list is now available thanks to Gerald Cannon of Ballers Bridge! The list can be found here.