Is a new professional basketball league announced this week for real, or is it all just some sort of joke or publicity stunt by former pro wrestling promoter Don "Moose" Lewis?
The Augusta Chronicle reported on Tuesday that the All-American Basketball Alliance plans to kick off its inaugural season in June and hopes that Augusta will be one of 12 cities to host teams.
But here's the kicker: According to a press release the newspaper and other Augusta media outlets received from the new league, "only players that are natural-born United State citizens with both parents of Caucasian race are eligible to play in the league."
That's right. Lewis, who calls himself the commissioner of the AABA, will exclude blacks and all foreigners from his new league, which the newspaper said will be based in Atlanta.
According to the Chronicle, Lewis said he wants to emphasize "fundamental basketball" instead of "street ball" played by "people of color."
"There's nothing hatred about what we're doing," Lewis told the paper. "I don't hate anyone of color."
Lewis pointed out recent incidents in the NBA, including Gilbert Arenas' suspension for bringing a gun into the Washington Wizards locker room, and said, "Would you want to go to the game and worry about a player flipping you off or attacking you in the stands or grabbing their crotch?"
But is Lewis, a former promoter of the International Wrestling Union, serious about his plans for such an exclusionary league, which he hopes will have teams in a dozen southeastern cities such as Augusta, Albany and Chattanooga, Tenn.?
The AABA apparently has no Web site, and efforts early Thursday to reach Lewis through the telephone number listed on the league's press release were unsuccessful.
"I am a sports enthusiast myself, but I just don't think that idea's going to fly in Augusta, Ga.," Augusta Mayor Deke Copenhaver told WJBF-TV.
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