Leroy Loggins says Brisbane side could help kids
NBL legend Leroy Loggins believes a revival of a top-level Brisbane team would not only revitalise basketball in the Queensland capital, it would also strengthen his foundation for supporting disadvantaged children.
The 56-year-old established the Leroy Loggins Foundation in 2002, after retiring from the game, to provide sporting opportunities for those in difficult upbringings, especially indigenous children.
He said a top-level basketball team would give some of the students he works with a goal to shoot for.
NBL chief executive Fraser Neill last month said a Brisbane team in the competition from the the 2015/16 season onwards, "will happen".
Loggins did it tough as a kid growing up in Cherry Hill, a community in Baltimore in the US where drugs and crime were rampant.
Basketball was his ticket out of the neighbourhood.
He went on to become arguably Australia's greatest import, winning three NBL titles, three NBL MVP awards, making the NBL first team nine times also the 20th and 25th anniversary teams.
"The way this city, Brisbane, supported us - you couldn't do nothing but give 120% for them," Loggins told APN.
"That was what I was all about - giving back to the community.
"I played 19 years in that organisation. I just think it's something the kids can aspire to look up to."
It was the Brisbane Bullets that rescued Loggins from the perils of the Baltimore streets, and it is his dream to see more disadvantaged children find hope in a professional basketball team.
"It was pretty tough. There was a lot of crime and drugs. It's a sad place to be honest," he said.
"I know as a young kid that I didn't want to live in that environment, so I did everything in my powers to get myself away from that."
With a handful of recent NBA draftees as proof, Loggins said it was clear that Australian basketball was in good shape.
The Cairns Taipans have announced the signing of University of South Carolina Upstate small forward Torrey Craig as the club's first import for the 2014/15 NBL season.
Craig, 23, was one of the best players in the Atlantic Sun Conference last season, posting 16.7 points per game and seven rebounds.
He is expected to arrive in Cairns later this month.