ABA LAUNCHES NATIVE ABA INITIATIVE
The American Basketball Association (ABA) today announced the launching of a new initiative – Native ABA – a league comprised of teams featuring Native American players designed to build interest and awareness within Indian country. Starting with a team named Native ABA to be located in Northeast Arizona, the league will build self-esteem, self-confidence and self-identity for all Native American athletes. “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,” stated ABA CEO Joe Newman. “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 has been named CEO of Native ABA. He is a Native American (Lakota/Dine) that was a college walk-on that earned a scholarship and played all four years of college basketball. He eventually made it to the NBA Denver Nuggets before being cut and continued his basketball career by playing professionally in Europe before returning to the US to play in the ABA. Following basketball he went back to school, got his MBA and is now working on a Doctoral degree. He also started a nonprofit organization called American Indian Basketball (AIB) to help native players play professional basketball and served as Athletic Director for a small college in Northern Arizona.
“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,” added Foster. “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 10-12 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.”