Sep 28, 2012, 1:05 PM EDT
Call him Donovan Price, Bikini King of Chicago.
You’ve got your Chicago Bulls, Chicago Bears, Cubs, Sox, Blackhawks and Fire … and now the Chicago Desire, one of the Bikini Basketball Association’s seven inaugural franchises. And the new league probably couldn’t have found a better spokesman than Price (pictured), the music producer/entrepreneur who is the owner/general manager of the Desire.
“Chicago sports is what it is. It’s a sports city, and we want to be a part of that,” Price, a Chicago native who made somewhat of a name for himself in the local techno/dubstep music scene under the name BiPolar Beatz, told Off the Bench. Yep — just so you know, nothing connected to this story from here on in can in any way be considered conventional.
“We’re working off of the model that the Lingerie Football League has done so well,” Price said. “This is a new era in sports, and a new era of people wanting to be entertained. The marriage of basketball and beautiful girls is a concept whose time has come. This can work.
“But it’s not all about the bikinis,” Price said. “You know, Hooters is what it is, but the wings are actually good.”
Ha. In other words, yes, the women will be easy on the eyes. But so will the basketball, says Price. The new league, he says, will have some athletes on the court.
And, um, speaking of courts, the Chicago Desire doesn’t exactly have one yet. When the weather’s iffy, the team has been practicing in the hallway of Price’s local church on Chicago’s South Side. Otherwise they take to whatever outdoor neighborhood court that’s not otherwise occupied.
“The team attracts a lot of attention,” Price says. “They’re not wearing bikinis, of course — just regular practice shorts and such. But guys gather around and watch, and they’re amazed at how good they are. We hear (spectators) talking to each other, saying things like ‘She can beat you,’ and ‘That girl’s better than you.’
“We have girls from all walks of life,” Price said. “One is full-time active military, one’s a single mom. We have a couple of full-time students. And many of them have solid basketball backgrounds.”
Price won’t go into detail there — official tryouts haven’t begun, and once they do the field has to be winnowed to 21 players, with 14 on the active roster.
“We’re going to have a main group of seven who are the best players, then a group of seven who are also good, but one level down,” said Price. “Then another seven after that who will contribute by entertaining the crowd. They will have to be good at making balloon animals, performing on a trampoline and things like that. Everyone on the team plays a role.”
Price won’t be coaching the team himself, although he’s been fulfilling that role so far. He’s hoping to get one of his friends from the Chicago basketball community to do it. Is Dennis Rodman looking for a job? One can only hope.
The league has seven franchises so far, but is hoping to open the season (in May of 2013) with 10, BBA president A.J. McArthur told Off the Bench.
“We’re looking at franchises in Dallas and Minnesota, plus one more,” said McArthur, who was the owner of the Miami Spice before being promoted recently by league commissioner Rich Remington (the league was Remington’s brainchild).
The Spice, says McArthur, have already had 200 player applications, and he’s expecting more. From those, 80 will be invited to tryouts, and “10 to 15″ will make the final cut.
“We have some ex-WNBA players trying out, and a couple of ex-NBA players have filed owner’s requests,” McArthur said. “Many of the players have basketball backgrounds, so it’s not all about how they look. There will actually be some good basketball out there.”
In bikinis. Let’s stress that, because it’s a concept so simple, it’s somewhat stunning that no one’s thought of it before. Girls in bikinis will be playing hoops for your amusement by this coming spring. Let the games begin.
“In many ways this is a new sport, but with the same rules,” Price said. “It will be regular basketball rules, and I hope the league agrees with me that the players should be allowed to dunk. I also hope the league agrees with me that we should use a regulation-sized ball, like the men use. But that’s all still to be determined.”
Since they don’t have a practice court, the Desire of course doesn’t have a home gym as of yet. Price says they’re hoping to acquire UIC Pavilion, home of the University of Illinois-Chicago.
“This (league) is a great concept, a melding of beauty, fitness and intelligence,” Price said. “I want to make this team on the level of the Chicago Sky (WNBA), the Chicago Blitz (former USFL), or bigger. There’s no telling how far we can go.
“I want this team to be a combination of the Chicago Bulls and the Harlem Globetrotters of the Bikini Basketball Association,” he said. “The Bulls of bikinis. I want us to set the standard.”
I’m ready. Pass the hot wings.
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