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Basketball league’s ambition is to grow, showcase Native American talent

The American Basketball Association has launched an initiative to form a league comprised of Native American players.

The ABA announced Aug. 23 that the start of the initiative will be a northeast Arizona-based team named Native ABA.
The ABA is a professional league that features dozens of teams throughout the country.

“Showcasing the talents of Native American basketball players will allow more teams around the country and internationally to see the skills and abilities possessed by Native players,” ABA CEO Joe Newman said in a statement. “By increasing the attention surrounding Native American players, more opportunities will arise. The more that is invested in Native American athletes, the more that can be developed and expanded by encouraging more Tribes and players to participate.”

WarLance Foster (Lakota/Dine) has been named CEO of Native ABA. He played collegiately at Western State College and professionally in Europe. He also served as athletics director at Dine College.

“My goal is to give the same opportunity to other Native Americans that I got, to increase the number of Native American players playing in the NBA,” Foster said in a statement. “With the growth and development of the first Native American team within Indian Country, additional teams and tribes can be added. The goal is to expand Native ABA to include 10 to 12 tribal teams which will allow more Native players to participate and allow each tribe to manage and operate their own team. We have put together a full expansion program and will actively pursue tribes nationwide. And we’re also considering the same development for a women’s Native ABA.”

South Florida was briefly home to an all-Native ABA team. Native Pride, which featured some players from the Seminole Tribe, such as DeForest Carter and Jerome Davis, played in the 2015-16 season before disbanding. The team played in various gyms in South Florida, including Broward College and Hollywood Christian School.

For more information about Native ABA, contact Foster at warparty@aibasketball.org, (480) 628-0710 or visit aibasketball.org or abaliveaction.com

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Kevin Johnson
Kevin Johnson is senior editor. He has worked for The Seminole Tribune since 2014. He was previously an editor, photographer and reporter for newspapers in Southwest Florida and Connecticut. Contact Kevin at kevinjohnson@semtribe.com.
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