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Basketball, Belief, and Brooklyn: Coach D’s Admirals Odyssey

February 17, 2024 – New York City, New York –

In the dynamic world of professional basketball, few stories resonate with the spirit of perseverance and dedication quite like that of Coach D, the owner and head coach of the Tri-State Admirals in The Basketball League (TBL). His journey, marked by challenges, competition, and ultimate triumph, paints a vivid picture of resilience and passion for the game. The story begins in February 2020, with the TBL announcing the Rochester Revolution as a new expansion team. However, in a twist of fate, the team relocated to New Jersey, rebranding as the Tri-State Admirals. At this juncture, Coach D was already deep into his basketball journey as the owner of the Harlem Underdogs in the American Basketball Association, a semi-professional league. He was wary of another team in the New York/New Jersey area, fearing it might overshadow his Underdogs. For the initial two years, the Admirals, seen as the proverbial ‘bigger brother,’ became a direct competitor to Coach D’s Harlem Underdogs. This rivalry only fueled Coach D’s determination to rise to the top with his team. The narrative took a significant turn when the ownership of the Tri-State Admirals dissolved. David Magley, President of the TBL, recognizing Coach D’s exceptional work with the Underdogs, saw him as an ideal candidate to take over the Admirals. Previously, Magley had approached Coach D to become a TBL Team Market Owner, an opportunity he couldn’t pursue due to financial constraints. However, when the Admirals went on sale at a more accessible price, Coach D seized the opportunity, marking the beginning of his third year as the TMO/Head Coach of the Admirals.

Coach D’s love for the TBL and his team is palpable. He fondly recalls his first TBL win, a moment marked by an unexpected celebratory water shower from his players, signifying his arrival in the league he now cherishes. “I’ll never forget my first game in the TBL. We won. It was a road game. It was my first TBL win ever and I got my first water shower from my players…..I walked in. I didn’t know and my players splashed me and drenched me with water and that moment was when I knew I was in the right place,” reminisces Coach D. Behind Coach D’s success lies a story of personal struggle and resilience. Growing up as a foster kid with a mother battling drug abuse, and without knowing his father, he has always lived by the motto “out the mud.” This phrase encapsulates his journey from being overlooked due to his background to becoming a figure of inspiration. “In every situation I found myself in, I was always ‘out the mud’. That’s a phrase used often by Coach D because he knows what it is liked to be overlooked because of your background and how you look, he explains.

Coach D’s hardships have instilled in him a strong desire to give back, particularly to local players in the New York/New Jersey area who might have been overlooked. His recruitment focuses on players from the Tri-State area, embodying his “Mud vs. Hollywood” mentality. He contrasts his humble beginnings with those who had more affluent upbringings, using this as a motivational tool for himself and his team. That’s why he strives so hard to give local players in the New York/New Jersey area that may have been overlooked a chance at becoming a pro basketball player. This mentality is not just a phrase for Coach D; it’s a way of life. Recalling his days as a physically imposing guard/power forward, he reflects on how he used his background as a source of strength against more privileged teams and players. “Here I am, this kid from foster care, with these corny sneakers and I’m guarding a kid that has Jordan’s. And that does something to a man. That does something to a player. When you’re told your whole life you don’t belong or you can’t afford it…….ya know I just took advantage of the matchup. I am a physical light skin guard/power forward. I played a big man spot so I’m just always super physical. So when I see teams like Albany (Patroons), Jamestown (Jackals), or Reading (Rebels), these are Hollywood. These guys have everything we want and they are in our way,” he passionately states.

Coach D’s journey from the adversity-laden streets of New York to the head coach and owner of the Tri-State Admirals is more than a success story; it’s a testament to the power of resilience, belief, and hard work. His story is not just about basketball; it’s about overcoming life’s challenges and emerging victorious, inspiring many along the way. Coach D’s commitment to his roots, his team, and his unique approach to the game continues to shape the landscape of basketball in the Tri-State area. His story is a beacon of hope and a reminder that with determination and grit, even the most challenging obstacles can be overcome. In the competitive landscape of the TBL, Coach D’s respect for his rivals, particularly the Albany Patroons, stands out. Despite being divisional rivals, Coach D holds a deep admiration for the Patroons’ gameplay and their organizational strength. This respect exemplifies Coach D’s sportsmanship and his appreciation for high-level competition. “Facing off against really good coaches with NBA playing experience, NCAA D1 coaching experience, and overseas expertise, is a huge opportunity for me,” Coach D explains. “I enjoy coaching against the best, and I have great respect for the Patroons. Especially being able to face them as divisional opponents is a privilege.” For Coach D, each game is an opportunity to prove the mettle of his team and his coaching philosophy. Beating a formidable team like the Albany Patroons is not just a win on the scoreboard; it’s a testament to the growth and strength of the Tri-State Admirals as an organization. “To be able to beat them this season would be a huge, huge win and a statement for our organization. It’s almost a goal in itself,” Coach D states, highlighting his competitive spirit and the importance of these matchups in the broader scope of the team’s journey.

A significant aspect of Coach D’s journey is his deep sense of gratitude towards the leadership of the TBL, specifically towards Dave Magley, the President, and Evelyn Magley, the CEO. Coach D acknowledges the instrumental role they have played in providing opportunities for him and the Tri-State Admirals. Under their leadership, the TBL has not only offered a platform for growth but also avenues to challenge and showcase the Admirals on larger stages. A recent highlight for the Admirals under Coach D’s leadership has been their selection to participate in interleague competitions. This development, allowing them to compete against teams from the Basketball Super League, signifies a leap in competition and exposure. For Coach D and his team, it’s a chance to prove their mettle in more prominent arenas and against international teams, particularly with the current focus on Canadian teams. Coach D’s tenure with the Admirals is characterized by more than just strategic and on-court successes. It’s also defined by his recognition of the support from the TBL and the opportunities that have come their way. This acknowledgment underscores the importance of leadership and guidance in the realm of professional sports.

As the Admirals embark on these new challenges, Coach D’s leadership, marked by gratitude and forward-thinking, continues to steer them. His journey with the team illustrates the impact of seizing opportunities, fostering strong relationships, and leading with a sense of appreciation. Managing the dual roles of TMO and Head Coach of the Tri-State Admirals is a task Coach D admits is not without its challenges. However, he finds a unique ease and fulfillment in this demanding position, attributing his success to experience and a higher calling. “Everything that everyone sees is my vision coming out of my own pocket,” Coach D admits. Despite the lack of external financial support and the challenges of profitability, he remains steadfast in his commitment to the team and the vision he has for it. His resilience in keeping the Admirals operational, especially during tough times, is deeply rooted in his faith. Coach D credits his enduring belief and trust in a higher power for the team’s sustenance through thick and thin. This aspect of Coach D’s journey with the Admirals illustrates not just his dedication to basketball but also his unwavering determination and deep faith. His ability to navigate financial hurdles without compromising the team’s integrity and objectives speaks volumes about his character and leadership qualities.

In a landscape often dominated by financial imperatives, Coach D’s approach is a refreshing reminder of the power of vision, dedication, and faith in sports management. Coach D’s story with the Tri-State Admirals is a compelling narrative of passion, resilience, and faith. His journey underscores the challenges of leading a professional sports team without substantial financial backing, and his reliance on personal conviction and faith to overcome these challenges. As Coach D continues to lead the Admirals, his story serves as an inspiration and a testament to the belief that true commitment to a vision can sustain even the most challenging ventures in sports.

Jonathan Brown started SPCSN in 2018 as a sports highlight company and started with doing videos for friends and teammates at his Alma Mater Johnson University Florida. As he progressed as an athlete and sports broadcaster in college, he began to see a need for many small colleges and semi-professional teams. He became fascinated with local team markets and wanted to show the whole world what these teams showed. In 2019, Brown transitioned his business into a sports network focused on non-NCAA DI schools, semi-professional sports, and select minor/development leagues. Brown currently serves as the CEO and chairman of the board.

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