On the heels of adding collegiate baseball to its local offerings, Loudoun County will soon be home to a professional basketball team. No, really.
The American Basketball Association has announced plans to start its 100th team, called Virginia Storm, in Ashburn. The semi-pro Winchester Storm will fold into the new Virginia Storm team.
Launching a pro team in Northern Virginia has been a longtime dream of owners Norman and Mardesky Blowe, who started the Winchester Storm in 2010.
“I like the Loudoun County area and there’s a lot of new growth and development there, so it seems like a great place to start a team,” Norman Blowe said.
Generally, the league brings on players who are coming off of playing four years of college basketball. Blowe said his goal is “to give young men the opportunity to continue their basketball careers by providing a foundation for professional advancement.”
Virginia Storm’s first game is scheduled for the first week in November.
The team will hold tryouts within the next month, and Blowe expects the team will be made up of a few players from the Winchester Storm, as well as men who recently played in college, overseas and even a few from the NBA.
The team is working with Loudoun County Parks, Recreation and Community Services to secure venues for its games. Blowe expects most of the games to be played at local high schools.
Blowe said he’s looking forward to the team and its players—as well as its dance team, the Stormettes—to partner with Loudoun non-profit organizations, businesses and schools. Since he and his wife formed the Winchester Storm six years ago, it has raised money for charities, grown from two to 18 business sponsors, and formed Junior Storm, a league of six junior travel teams.
“We really want to do our part to be good community partners,” Blowe said.
Joe Newman, CEO of the American Basketball League, said all of the league’s teams are encouraged to “have this deep involvement in the community.”
“Basketball is basketball, but when you really look behind the scenes there is so much more that’s going on than the basketball,” he said of the league’s 106 teams.
Virginia Storm will join the Chesapeake Division, which includes teams from Philadelphia, Atlantic City, Trenton, NJ, and Fredericksburg.