When A 'Feel Good' Story Goes 'Bad'
‘Native’ Goes Basketball!
Or is it the other way around – ‘Basketball Goes ‘Native’?
Anyway, the first professional all-Native American Basketball Team – “Native America” - has been formed and is based in Albuquerque under the directorship of William Stephan “Spider’ Ledesma who has been touring the country in his search for 12 players as the core group for the team.
This is the American Basketball Association’s 24th Expansion team which is to make its last stop of the recruiting tour in Phoenix on Saturday the 21st of August.
Hopefully when the upcoming season begins you will see 6 foot-four, nineteen year old Kenny Dobbs, Jr. of Choctaw and Spanish descent in action on the court. Dobbs was the shooting guard for Peoria (AZ) Accelerated High School.
He told Arizona Republic reporter, Mikaela Crank,“I am so excited because this opportunity has fueled my dreams and passion for basketball. I know I will make the team. God gave me this talent and I plan to use it to my ability.” Right now, Kenny works full time as a mail courier, goes to church on Sundays and is love with the girl he plans to marry. He works out at LA Fitness in Glendale.
The season begins in November and goes through April. Native America will travel around the western part of the US to play other teams.
It went “bad” Saturday, August 21st,
Questions Arise About Canceled Basketball Tryout Camps
by Bob Young
The Arizona Republic
“A series of seven tryout camps for Native American basketball players scheduled to form a professional Native
America National Team have been cancelled including one planned for today in Phoenix.
“Organizers say that players who paid $200 in advance to take part in the camps won’t receive a refund. Instead they must travel to Albuquerque for a three-day tryout October 3-6, paying their travel and lodging expenses.
“Kenny Dobbs, Jr. is one of the more than 40 Native American basketball players who paid in advance, and one of the seven who paid for the Phoenix tryout.”
William Stephan “Spider” Ledesma, 40, is of Mission and Mexican Indian ancestry from Picayune, Miss. The CEO of the Native America National Team said Friday (Aug 20th) that the Phoenix tryout fell through because the Indian casinos wouldn’t pay a $6,000 sponsorship fee. Ledesma never stated what Indian casinos were involved, but his press conference in Albuquerque on June 14th was held at the Isleta Casino & Resort.
When Dobbs complained about having to pay to travel to Albuquerque for the tryouts, Ledesma was not sympathetic. His response,“I’m the professional.”
From Mike Hall, News:Bulletin Associate Sports Editor, "Ledesma who says he has extensive professional basketball experience in Europe also has stated he played one year of junior college basketball in California before going to the University of Idaho in 1984-85. He said he never returned to college ball and instead played six years in Mexico before continuing his career in Europe. His biography said he led the Los Angeles Clippers in rebounding in 1987 preseason play. "
Ledesma can be reached at(601)799-1880 or E-mail: NativeAmericaABA@aol.com.
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