Four years ago, Evelyn Magley was on her knees asking God what he wanted her to do with her life. That’s when she had an epiphany to start The Basketball League (TBL), a professional league based on the love of God.
“I realized that basketball could be used as a tool to positively impact people’s lives,” Magley says.
She and her husband David, a former pro basketball player who previously served as the commissioner of the National Basketball League of Canada, have been married for 40 years and have four children. While living in Canada, Magley learned the value of sports in improving mental health. When people are trapped inside during frigid weather, attending a basketball game is an outlet for fun.
Magley was eager to build a program in Kokomo that would bring multiple opportunities to the community. It was a chance for the athletes to be ambassadors and use their stardom to impact young lives, but it was also a professional platform that would spotlight dancers, musicians, coaches, referees, general managers, and countless others with gifts and talents that could be taken to another level.
“That’s what TBL brings – another level of entertainment and another level of opportunity for everyone involved,” says Magley, chief executive officer of TBL, which launched its first season in 2019. Games are live-streamed in more than 145 countries
Magley, born and raised in a tight-knit community in Kansas, was the first African American homecoming queen at her high school and is now the first African American – and first female – to own a professional male sports league.
“It’s a big responsibility to be the person who’s trying to set an example for how to treat others,” she says. “We need to hold ourselves accountable with one another and with our communities. We need to start treating one another as humans with more kindness, more love, more understanding and more respect.”
A retired music educator, Magley has a heart for impacting lives. She notes that more than 75% of all Americans are financially illiterate in some way. Perhaps they don’t know how to balance a checkbook, or they don’t understand cryptocurrency or non-fungible tokens. Therefore, TBL has partnered with the National Financial Educators Council to offer teams classes on financial literacy.
“We’re killing the pandemic of illiteracy with finances and doing it one player at a time,” Magley says. “We want our athletes to understand the opportunities that they have other than just being a player. We want them to be strive to be GMs, coaches and team market owners.”
Evelyn Magley is excited about how Kokomo has embraced these young men, and they are equally excited to have an opportunity to bring streams of revenue into the community.
“We want to people to come out, have fun and make memories with their families,” Magley says.
For more info on The Basketball League, visit thebasketballleague.net.