The League is back and better than ever

The League is back and better than ever
May 12
12:35 2021

The League, sponsored by the Josh Howard Foundation, has made it’s return to the city. As the premiere adult men’s league in the Triad area, players and fans were eager to have the teams lace them up and start playing basketball again in The League.

Steve Nivens, commissioner of The League, has been working with city officials for months to ensure the safety of players and fans to bring the men’s league back. Once he received the go-ahead, he quickly went to work coordinating some exciting basketball action for this spring.

“Really, it was about getting the OK from the city,” Nivens said. “I wasn’t going to rush the situation and I wanted to make sure everyone was safe and meeting the guidelines. With high school basketball going and not really any negative feedback from that, I thought it was go-time, especially with all the guys calling me about it.

“I was just waiting for the guidelines and was ready just like everybody else, but I definitely wanted to keep everyone safe.”

Nivens kicked off his spring league three weeks ago with eight teams competing. The teams play twice a week at the Sprague Street Recreation Center. Nivens is happy with the quality of play thus far.

“I have eight strong teams in it and with the delays, I lost a few teams because some guys had to go back to school and are not in the city any longer,” he said. “As we have been building and branding, I have been having more teams reach out to me about the spring league.

“The quality of play has definitely been good. It has been competitive with a lot of young talent. It’s exciting and we have been keeping the maximum crowd every night.”

Nivens stated that he is not surprised with who the top teams are in the league; however, he was surprised by the order the teams are in as they head to the final stretch of the regular season. 

“Those four teams are definitely strong and they will probably be the final four headed toward the championship,” Nivens continued. “The returning champions from the year we played before COVID are back and the back-to-back champions before them are looking really good as well.”

Because there was so much success with the spring league, Nivens wants to bring his summer league back as well. He says he will wait to ensure there are no COVID-19 outbreaks in the area before making a final decision.

“We want to see how everything works out and hopefully there are no surges and everyone is staying safe,” he said. “At the rec center, everyone has to wear a mask and follow the guidelines. We are in the works for something special for the summertime. We are cooking up something for the summer and hopefully everything goes according to plan.”

The League originally played at the W.R. Anderson Recreation Center, but due to the basketball court being renovated, they had to play at Sprague Street. The court is nearly finished and Nivens hopes to have the opportunity to finish the playoffs at the new court.

Nivens said he is happy to not only bring The League back for the players, but is also happy to give people another outlet, as well as a return to some sense of normalcy.  

“It feels good to see the smiles on the guys’ faces,” he continued. “Nothing is going to be normal anymore, but just wanted to get people back to a normal mindset. Just having the guys out there and keeping them safe and out of trouble makes me feel good.”

For more information about The League, please visit or Instagram at theleaguenc.

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Timothy Ramsey

Timothy Ramsey

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