Basketball presidency hopeful to target shorter version of the game in hopes of rebuilding interest

Antigua and Barbuda Basketball Association (ABBA) presidential hopeful, Michael Freeland (left), with host of the Good Morning Jojo sports show, Joseph Apparicio (Observer media photo)
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By Neto Baptiste

Antigua and Barbuda Basketball Association (ABBA) presidential hopeful, Michael Freeland, says that if successful at the body’s March 22 elections, one of his first priorities would be to bring back competitive basketball.

Speaking on the Good Morning Jojo Sports Show, Freeland said he would seek to utilise shorter and less exhaustive formats of the game to rebuild momentum before launching into a full-scale league.

“When you have a shorter version of the game it gets exciting and you see a little bit more flair, so it’s a bit more fun; competitive yes, but fun. I think Hollywood [Brian Matthew] had one sometime late last year in Mack Pond and the reception for that was great, and I know Villa, the guys from Fearless Crew, they are hosting one in April and so the hype is there. I think having small tournaments and building that hype and let people see that basketball is coming back and it’s going to be something spectacular, that hype breeds some energy into the new life of basketball,” he said. 

The former player who is also coach of the Northside Stingerz basketball team, said he opted to put that part of his involvement on pause to take on the much bigger role following news that sitting president, Kebra Nanton will not be seeking reelection.

“Prior to me deciding to run for the president, I had a conversation with the outgoing president who is Kebra Nanton and she had wanted me to serve on her new executive. She rolled out some plans that I supported and was looking forward to serving on that executive in that role. I had indicated to her, though, that I didn’t want to stop coaching at that point and two or three weeks later she came back and said she had some other priorities and she may not run again for the presidency. I [had] a conversation with her and she said ‘I think you’d be a nice fit for the president’ and I said ‘okay, let me give it some thought’,” Freeland said.

Freeland is set to go into the vote unopposed as reports indicate that no other challenger had emerged prior to the March 8 deadline.

The elections will be held at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium and is scheduled to start at 7pm.

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