SEATTLE, Wash — A couple is bringing basketball back to Seattle in the hopes of enticing the NBA to bring a new team to the city.
Jacqueline Yang and Pierre Crockrell Sr. are the owners of the Seattle Super Hawks, which is part of The Basketball League, or TBL. TBL is in its fifth season with 44 teams across the U.S.
Tryouts for Seattle's newest professional sports team are scheduled for Oct. 23 and Oct. 29.
Yang and Crockrell say launching the team is part of eventually bringing an NBA team back to the city.
"To help bring the Sonics back to Seattle, this is part of it," Crockrell said.
Seattle is the third team in the Pacific Northwest, joining Salem, Ore., and Vancouver, Wash. As a pro team, the Super Hawks are an ideal spot for G League and NBA hopefuls like Tre'Shaun Fletcher, 28, and Justin Moore, 25, to land.
Fletcher and Moore are already signed as players for the Super Hawks roster, which will ultimately have 10 men on paid contracts and potentially a total of 15 men on the roster.
The ideal Super Hawks player is someone who played college basketball and is looking for a shot at playing professionally.
Fletcher, who put up big points in his teen years at Lincoln High School in Tacoma, went on to play at the University of Colorado and Toledo.
He played at the professional level after college, with his most recent games in Italy and Belgium.
While Fletcher is not the typical age of an NBA rookie - he said he has more life experience and is ready to take the court with the Super Hawks.
"I'm taking the long road and waiting my turn," Fletcher said.
Like Fletcher, his teammate Moore is a father and ready for action. Moore is from San Diego and played basketball at Georgia Tech.
“Playing in this league, playing this year, is going to benefit us to get to the next level with the film we’re going to be able to get," Moore said. "We just have to do our part now. I tell everybody, I just need the opportunity, and I’ll take advantage of the rest."
Super Hawks Team Market Owners Yang and Crockrell said it's an honor to give young men like Fletcher and Moore the chance to chase their dreams.
“We wanted to provide a platform for these athletes to showcase their talents and to be able to develop them professionally on the court and off the court, get involved in the community," Yang said.
Yang is also making history. She is the first woman of Asian descent to own a professional men's sports team in North America.
TBL itself is making history with league CEO Evelyn Magly becoming the first African American woman to ever own a men's pro sports league in the U.S.
Yang said the players will be part of several community outreach missions so they can develop meaningful relationships with local youth.
The Super Hawks organization wants game days to be an option for everyone.
"This is an opportunity to reach out in the community and get people in - families and youth that maybe can't afford to go to professional sports games," said Cameron Collins, Super Hawks chief legal officer. "Come out and enjoy some basketball and really create a strong fan base."
The inaugural season starts in March 2023, with playoffs happening in June. The team will play home games at Seattle Pacific University.
While the season seems far away, the work starts now. Recruiting has been in the works, and tryouts are set for 3 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 23, and at 7 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 29. Registration is required to tryout, and the sessions will be held at Seattle Academy Upper School Gym on 13th Avenue.
Working on building the team and attracting talent to tryouts are former basketball agent J.R. Harris, the Super Hawks general manager, and the team's head coach, Eldridge Recasner, a University of Washington basketball hall of famer and a former NBA player.
"We feel in our region and the team that we build, we think we can identify talent and bring that championship in their first year," Harris said.
The Super Hawks are expecting at least a few hundred men at the two tryout sessions.
“So, many talented men here in the city of Seattle, a lot of them don’t have an opportunity to make the NBA, but this is going to give them the opportunity to play in Asia or over in Europe," Recasner said.
Because the success of the Super Hawks could one day benefit the return of the SuperSonics - the organization is aiming to have the team work toward becoming a G League team and act as a developmental team for a local NBA franchise.
The Super Hawks are already getting support from well-known former SuperSonics players such as Gary Payton and Detlef Schrempf, and Coach Lenny Wilkens.