Pro basketball in the Burg

The NBA is still locked out. The ABA is only growing.

Their mission is to provide superior entertainment, while practicing what they preach in partnership through community outreach. They are here to entertain. This is the message that forward Fayid Williams stressed about the professional local basketball team formed in Lynchburg.

It took two years, but a professional basketball team will be unveiled Nov. 12 at the Lynchburg Armory. For team President and CEO Derek Polly, that day couldn’t come fast enough.

“Two years ago, I came across this opportunity at a semi-pro league in Maryland and the owner of that team let me know that there was not a professional team in Virginia,” Polly said. “At that time, I stayed in contact with the CEO of the ABA to see what it took to start a franchise. It took me a year and a half before I was able to start the Lynchburg Legends.”

The Lynchburg Legends are a team comprised of athletes that are dedicated to promoting a high-octane run-and-gun style of play.

Polly, a recent graduate of Liberty University, noticed in 2009 that Virginia didn’t have a professional basketball team. That is when the process of placing a team in Lynchburg became a priority.

Over the summer, the Legends held tryouts for those in the City of Lynchburg and the surrounding areas. Head Coach Aaron Smith picked the 16 best players to mold into a team. Of the 16 was a mixture of those who played in college, overseas and street basketball tournaments.

“In Lynchburg you would not think you would be able to find a lot of talent in a small area. This town has a lot of great players,” guard Lloyd DeLoatch said.

“We have players from a different walks of life, we have some that played in different countries, some played in college, some people did neither,” Williams said.

Under Coach Smith the Legends are looking forward to making an impact not only on the court but off the court. In the America Basketball Association (ABA) the Legends will be playing teams out Virginia, Maryland and North Carolina for the 2011-12 season.

“Our goal is to be competitive and to win our division. We want to finish the season with no injuries and we really want to get the community involved,” Coach Smith said.

A strong commitment of the Legends is to have a strong bond with not only themselves as a team, but also with the Lynchburg community.

“We believe in each other. We preach a commitment to excellence, not just in basketball but in life. We don’t focus just on the basketball court, but in the community as well,” Polly said.

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