Commissioner’s Commentary On… New Teams, Pinnies, This Website, and the “2 Non Asian Rule”
Greetings and welcome to the Official Website of the Asian American Basketball League! If you are new to the website or the league, please take a look around the site and get a glimpse of what we are about– if you want to see what we are REALLY about you gotta come out to the gym! If you are an old head and been down with the AABL when it was the NAABL then welcome back again. It’s always great to see the improvements in teams and players, and even more importantly, the camraderie and friendships created from balling year round.
As the commissioner of the AABL I just wanted to quickly offer a quick overview of the 2011-12 Season– things new or different, things we would like to see happen, and our philosophy on an old rule. This is the 10th Year of the existence of the AABL, and although the organization runs smoother each and every year with the help of friends, family and other upstanding members of the community, it is always a good idea to remain in good communications with the folks of our AABL community.
New Old Teams, Old New Teams, a Really Young Team, and the Quiet Storm Factor: This has been, by far, the craziest season as far as player moves, breakups and re-organizing. This is a testament to teams learning what system and pieces works best and acquiring the right players to play their role. For this reason we start the season with over half the 12 teams looking like championship caliber squads. Credit can also be given to the AABL and other basketball leagues in which the players are able to play almost year round, playing with different players and in different line ups constantly.
Some classic AABL Teams such as the Raptors, Rebels, Dream Team and Monlu Forwarders have all added a little bit of firepower to their line ups to help imrove their AABL Cup odds. The Soldiers return to the AABL field after taking a year off as a squad, hoping to achieve their past success. The G Starz, an NAABL original squad in 2001, is back after a long spell as a team and representing the Peninsula even stronger than ever. The Spartans are a throwback squad combining some of the best talent and championship caliber ballers that have been around since AABL Day 1, including the return of consummate big man Tony Miller to man the paint.
The younger squads will most definitely add some spice to the league as they look to prove themselves to the older heads. The Titans (2010 Starters) look like the head of the youth movement as they boast one of the tightest defenses and the quickest legs in the league. Norfolk has added some offense, speed and height as they look dangerously competitive, looking hungry for some wins after getting their first AABL win in a big Playoff upset last season. Elite has some offensive talent and should see some opportunities to upset the top teams. Blue Dream may have one of the youngest squads in the league with at least one 16 year old player. But they knew what they were getting into and we are always happy to give the kids some burn. Expect some hardnose play and surprising composure from Blue Dream.
The biggest, interesting team highlight which causes all kinds of league craziness and catapulted more than one team into high standings in the league is the break up of Quiet Storm. The players from the perennial Championship favorite have seperated and offered their services to other squads. Quiet Storm was great as a team, but this year it will be interesting to see if the players step up and shine on a different roster.
We Don’t Wash the Pinnies: With all the teams disbanding and players bouncing around to other teams, uniform consistency among teams is difficult. I understand that after paying team fees and buying new Js that the uniform starts to lose importance. But please understand how much your teams uniform affects the game. The scorekeepers and refs have a hard time watching and officiating the game (“What is your number under that stinky yellow pinny?”). The fans in the stands have a hard time figuring out who is on what team (“Why are there FOUR different colors on the court?”). And all of the folks who check out all the pictures on the site in New York, Ohio, Cali, Hawaii, Australia and other places abroad are second guessing the professionalism of the league (“Man, the recession must have hit the 757 hard…”). So please, for the sake of the game, make sure your team has RESPECTABLE JERSEYS. Matching colors with alternates if necessary. With numbers not duct taped on. That your teammate doesn’t already have. If you need affordable option ideas, please hit us up. If you plan on playing in the AABL in future seasons, maybe your team should consider checking out http://momentumathleticapparel.com/ and get some classy uniforms that will last. The SCORETABLE HAS THE RIGHT TO DISALLOW ANY PLAYERS FROM ENTERING THE GAME IF THEIR UNIFORM IS DEEMED INAPPROPRIATE FOR ANY REASON WHATSOEVER. Any uniform conflicts will get the pinnies! Eww
The New and Improved: A Serious big up to Robert Murray for offering assistance with our website. He has cleaned up the look, helped us with the functionality, reset the bonehead administrators password, and fought off some hackers once or twice. All this in the name of basketball and goodwill. Rob is the man in charge of the Virginia Hoop League and, not only is he a basketball-head and gym rat, but he also has high ideas of creating a wider, more expansive basketball network where great basketball and community-minded individuals can share ideas and goals. One of the biggest highlights of the season involves some on-the-court networking as our very own exclusive AABL ALL-STARS vs VA HOOP LEAGUE ALL STARS! Expand your game.
“He Can’t Be Asian. Look At Him.”: Maybe THE DEFINING RULE of the AABL is the “2 Non Asian Rule”. Teams in the AABL consist of ALL ASIAN PLAYERS (Asian is considered as one grandparent indisputably Asian) with the exception being “2 Non Asians” per roster are permitted to play. This rule has created diversity, added talent, fueled competition and evened the playing field. Players who have played in the AABL bring high school, college, overseas, and pro level talent and experience to the league. Players are playing WITH and AGAINST players who have played the game at a high level. Also, incorporating a wider segment of the community is in line with the AABL’s Mission: “To cultivate fellowship and diversity in the community through basketball.”
Of course, the Defining Rule is the most questioned and controversial rule. How do we enfore the rule? How do we know if someone is Asian? How does someone prove that their grandparent is Asian? What EXACTLY is ASIAN? Why are you letting him play? He is definitley NOT Asian.
I wish I could tell you that we give DNA tests and do genealogy searches… but we don’t. We impose something that a community of people with like interests usually use to govern and dictate rules– an HONOR SYSTEM. The 2 Non Asian Rule is an Honor Rule. We hope that we are fostering an environment and encouraging the members of the league– the TEAMS and PLAYERS– to not only respect the AABL and what we do, but to RESPECT yourselves, your teammates, your FAMILY HISTORY, HERITAGE and LINEAGE. The AABL depends on the COMMUNITY to keep this thing going. I always say that this is the COMMUNITY’S league. Not one person’s.
The AABL is active in their questioning of players on rosters and we reserve the right to disallow any players from participating in any game for any reason whatsoever. But because of the Honor Rule, this rarely happens. Players who have not been allowed to play, are the ones that disclose the information to us– we don’t beat them down for it. We like to believe that people are honest until they show that they are untruthful. When suspicions grow and players and teams are constantly pointing fingers and the limits and boundaries are stretched more and more… we will simply SHUT this thing DOWN and end the controversies. I will be able to walk away with my head high for putting forth the effort.
If ANY TEAMS have questions about ANY PLAYERS ethnicities, I will be glad to tell you what I know. I feel THAT type of information is not personal. It is within every team’s right to if they are playing on a level playing field. But in the end, I will be relaying the information that was told to me by the player and the team organizer. I didn’t take a blood sample. And in a different point of view, that guy you think is no way whatsoever Asian, might just fool you. Looks and gossip can be deceiving.
We all hope that the enjoyment of playing in a great basketball atmosphere and facing intense competition would beat out a ‘winning at all costs attitude’, but that is something that can only be policed by each individual person.
With all that being said, ALL TEAM ROSTERS MUST BE FINALIZED BY THE END OF THE GAMES ON SUNDAY, OCTOBER 30 (WEEK 2). Please contact us ASAP if you have any questions about player eligibility, requirements, or adding/subtracting players.
Enough talk for now! Good luck to all the players and teams in the 2011-12 Season! More news and updates coming soon!
See you at the gym!