Today, it has become official, Atlantic City has a new professional men’s basketball team and everybody is excited about the great news. Yes, semi-pro basketball is back in Atlantic City for the first time in decades. The last time Atlantic City had a semi-pro basketball team was back in 1996. That team was also called “The Atlantic City Seagulls”. The Seagulls played 6 seasons in the United States Basketball League and they won three consecutive league titles between 1997 and 1999. They played in the Mid-Atlantic Division. Kevin Mackey was the head coach of that team.
First it was a dream, but now it’s a reality. Early this summer, The American Basketball Association ( ABA ) was proud to announce the rebirth of the Atlantic City Seagulls men’s basketball team. Back on July 6, new Atlantic City Seagulls team owner Darren “Slim” Akers and team general manager Lenny Cooke had a meeting with Atlantic City Mayor Marty Small Sr. inside the mayor’s office. They talked about Atlantic City’s newest basketball team. They discussed plans about introducing the Atlantic Seagulls to the people of Atlantic City. They spent hours talking about their big plans. Once the meeting was over, Atlantic City Mayor Marty Small Sr. made it known to his staff that he was excited about having the Atlantic City Seagulls back in Atlantic City. He said the team will have his full support. The meeting also brought a big smile to Darrin Akers’ face. He was the person who had the meeting with the American Basketball Association and moved his Yeadon Kings basketball team to Atlantic City.
“I decided to move the team to Atlantic City because it looked like the right move,” said Akers. “Yeadon is a beautiful town and I’m sure the people of Yeadon would have appreciated the Kings, but I just saw a bigger stage for the players and a bigger opportunity in Atlantic City to continue the team’s legacy. It also gives the beautiful city of Atlantic City something else to be proud of. I just saw a perfect fit to a perfect situation. I saw a bigger picture surrounding the basketball team. Today, I’m really excited about this opportunity.”
Last week, a big meeting was held in Las Vegas, Nevada for all the ABA owners. Darren Akers was among the large group of owners at the meeting. He shared good conversations with Northeast Division Chairwoman Marsha Blunt and ABA CEO Joe Newman. They laid down plans for a successful basketball season.
Since meeting with Atlantic City Mayor Marty Small Sr., the Atlantic City Seagulls have hired several people to join their pro basketball organization. One of the first people the Seagulls hired for its basketball operation was team head coach, Valentino C. Thompson. Akers said Thompson will bring a winning tradition to the Seagulls basketball program. Before Thompson was hired as the team head coach, the Seagulls brought aboard Chris “Skorch” James who was named the team’s Director of Game Day Entertainment. For the Seagulls, Chris James will be responsible for running live entertainment at all the home games. And in a surprise move, the Atlantic City Seagulls hired yours truly, Napoleon Kingcade, to be the team’s Director of Public Relations. For the Seagulls, Kingcade will be responsible for working with the media and informing the media about the basketball team. And just recently, the Atlantic Seagulls named Melina Johnson as the team’s Head Trainer and Medical supervisor. Johnson will be responsible for taking care all the players’ medical needs.
And then about a week ago, the Atlantic City Seagulls held a tryout for young women between 18 and 40-years old who wanted to be a cheerleader for the basketball team. The tryout was held in Atlantic City, on Sunday, August 1, at the Atlantic City Dolphins Field. Before the tryouts began, Brittany Tavares was named the team’s cheerleader coordinator and Head Cheerleading coach. During the tryout, a good number of women were picked for the Seagulls cheerleader squad.
With the start of the ABA season only three months away, plans have been set for a team tryout. Today, a team tryout has been set for September 27 from 6 PM to 9 PM and September 28 from 12 noon to 4 PM. All players are urged to report to Pleasantville Recreation Center, located at 300 Brighton Avenue in Pleasantville, New Jersey. Once the team roster is completed then the people of Atlantic City will wait for the start of an exciting basketball season.
According to team owner Darren Akers, the Atlantic City Seagulls will start the 2021-22 basketball season on November 6. The Seagulls are scheduled to play a road game against the Trenton Cagers. And once the season starts, the Atlantic City Seagulls will play their home games, either at Atlantic City’s Boardwalk Hall or at Atlantic City High School.
The Seagulls will make a decision shortly about the location of the home games.