How College Park is revolutionising the G League

Photo by Unique Rodriguez | The Signal

The NBA’s developmental league has gone through a significant facelift in recent years. After changing its name from the Development League (D-League) to the G League, due to a new sponsorship deal with Gatorade, the league has seen revolutionary changes.

One of these was made by the College Park Skyhawks, an affiliate of the Atlanta Hawks. The 2019 season will be its first on the courts. Not only is the team building a state-of-the-art 3,500-seat stadium, but the ownership makes the team unique. 

On May 11, the Atlanta Hawks announced that rapper 2 Chainz would be part-owner of the Skyhawks. 2 Chainz is the first major celebrity to have ownership in a developmental team, something which has brought the organization plenty of attention.

2 Chainz is a native of the area. While owning part of a development team is a far cry from owning an NBA franchise, he is helping to raise awareness of the league.

The G League has gradually shed its stereotype of being cheap, with teams frequently competing in small markets. Now, the league offers a quality experience in more diverse marketplaces. In the 2019-20 season, the league will have 28 teams competing against each other, compared to only eight in its 2001 inaugural season.

The Skyhawks are also shedding light on the importance of community investment. The team will look to get the community involved as much as possible. NBA G League President Shareef Abdur-Rahim agreed that investing in the community is a key to a successful franchise.

“Having grown up playing in College Park, I couldn’t be more excited to welcome the Skyhawks to my hometown,” Rahim said.

The Skyhawks’ new stadium, uncommon to G League arenas, will be a multi-purpose one. The stadium will also be used for concerts to further its application to the community.

“We could not find a better home for the Skyhawks than the city of College Park,” Abdur-Rahim said.

Mayor Jack Longino of College Park is encouraged by the rapid development of the area, where the stadium will begin hosting games in November. Longino is also excited at the partnerships made to get the project off the ground for the upcoming season.

“With steady progress underway involving development and construction, the city of College Park is excited to unveil the College Park Skyhawks,” Longino said. 

Longtime Hawks announcer Bob Rathbun also sees the team as a positive addition to the community.  

“I’m excited about them, great for College Park,” Rathbun said.

The Skyhawks hope to be a model franchise for the league and its future organizations. Through their ownership and community investment, the team has set a high standard. And through their vision to improve the community by providing outlets for local youth and player development for the Atlanta Hawks, the team will underscore the power of giving back.