Yes you read the headline right. The Bikini Basketball Association is real and the Chicago Desire are ready for action. The league is scheduled to start games in May. Tryouts for the Chicago Desire are scheduled for next Saturday, October 13th from 1p.m.-4p.m. The location is set to be announced today so stay tuned for those details. I had the pleasure of being able to go out and meet with the Owner and GM of the Desire Donovan Price, Chief Operating Officer Joe Phelan, and, of course, the team.
When I asked Donovan about how and why he got involved in the league, he told me that he saw it online and was interested right away. Each guy out there has probably said, you know what would be nice, women playing basketball in bikinis. Don said, “Its serious basketball. People will be shocked by the level of play. People will forget they have on bikinis when they watch them play.”
The Desire has seven girls on the team before their first tryouts. Joe said, “We recruited girls through social media. We wanted a base of talent to bring in more talent, since you attract more flies with honey. The girls on the team will participate in tryouts to see who they will be playing with which will help team chemistry.”
The league and especially this team have had great buzz since the league was announced. Joe explained that “people think we are riding a wave behind the Lingerie Football League, grabbing quick buzz. We have a great base of girls that can actually play, but couldn’t make in the WNBA and now have an opportunity to do what they love and show what they can do.” I also noticed the team really has a strong social media presence, especially on Twitter. Joe says, “Social media is a great way to interact with people that don’t even follow sports. People are always interacting to find out more about the league. How to get involved, if the league is real. Great way to individually interact with the people. We go on there on a daily basis, it is important for the brand to reach to the people.”
After watching the team practice, I got the chance to sit down with the team. Sienna, who is a Fashion Business major who attends Columbia College explained her choice to join: “There are no basketball teams, just intermurals. I wanted to be part of an actual team.” Dani ,who is 5’3″, played semi-pro ball, but she was automatically cut due to her height. She now gets to show she can hoop. Dutchess likes making the connection between modeling and basketball. Sticks said, “I am a baller first. Who said bikini girls can’t hoop? We are Chicago’s “Beautiful Monstarz”.
When I asked the team about the reaction they have gotten since the league was announced and when they joined the team, they told me everyone on Twitter is talking about it. They have even been told people are picking their favorite players! Sienna says:
“It happened overnight. I didn’t think it would happen so fast, but it has been a mostly positive reaction. People need to see it, since we are serious players.” The team wants to get out the stereotype of a bikini basketball league, wants the public to know they are not afraid to sweat. The team also wants people to know they it is about more than just having “cute nails to palm the ball.” “We want to win the championship! Working extremely hard, serious basketball players.” They want the ‘ship!
One big thing I took away from my time with the team and management is they also want to give back just as much love back to the Chicago community as they have shown the team since they were announced. They are trying to support local arenas. Their goal is to show they are from Chicago and want to stay. The team will donate 10% to charity. In fact, autism is the team’s cause of choice right now. A boy with autism named Tommy will be there for all the games so he can get to enjoy seeing a professional team, while raising awareness for Autism Speaks.
I came away from my time with the team with a great vibe. Donovan summarizes it very well: “Mixing the modeling and sports will only maximize what we can do. It’s all entertainment so it’s a great match. Bikinis represent fitness and health. To steal a line from the Army, it lets the women be all that they can be.” In my mind, this team will do very well. They definitely will have a great set of talent and entertainment.
UPDATE: The Chicago desire has announced that tryouts and posted this to their twitter page: