Basketball league has something for all levels

Basketball league has something for all levels
June 07
10:19 2018

Eight years ago, Alvaro Leal had an idea for a basketball league in the Triad area for Hispanic players. The league quickly has grown to now include all races, allowing a player of any skill level to have some weekend fun playing hoops.

Leal started off years ago with just seven teams but now boasts a stable of 33 teams across three different competition levels. His top level “Division 1” just decided their champion this past Sunday.

“The idea came to me because I wanted my son to get better because he was playing with an AAU [Amateur Athletic Union] team but the coaches were only playing their sons or nephews, so my son did not get much playing time with them,” said Leal.

“So that gave me an idea to start my own team and my own league,” he continued. “In the beginning I told all of the captains that if a team was short one player they would have to add my son so he could get better playing against older competition because he was only 12 at the time.”

With 33 teams in the league, Leal stated he is happy with the number he has. The league plays on Sundays at the Gateway YWCA. He says he had no idea the league would take off the way it has over the past few years. Even now he continues to get inquiries from teams all across the Triad and beyond.

“People always tell me that they like the way the league is organized and how I have different divisions for talent levels, which is why I think the league is so popular,” he said.

“A lot of the good players on every level try to team up on one team so they could beat everyone but I didn’t think that was going to work for the league, so I decided to keep it level so every team has a chance.”

Leal stated the players really come to love his league. He stated he has teams come from Mt. Airy, Dobson and even as far as Roanoke, Virginia to play in the league.

As the league has continued to grow, Leal stated he doesn’t even know how it got so big so fast. He says he doesn’t advertise his league on social media or news outlets. He feels the simple word of mouth method has done wonders for getting the word out about the league.

“I don’t have a webpage or any of that but people always call me to ask if they can put a team together because they heard my league was pretty good,” he says. After new teams play in the league for the first time they always tell me they love it.”

Leal’s son, Daniel Leal, is one of the best players in the city of Winston-Salem. Daniel attends Salem Baptist and is heading into his senior season. He has faced off against some of the best point guards in the county and has either matched or exceeded their play head to head.

Since Daniel has been able to play with older and better competition since he was a pre-teen, Leal feels that has helped propel his level of play against high school competition.
“This league has really expanded his confidence and every time he plays against high school players, he doesn’t get scared because he has played against older and bigger players,” he went on to say.

Continued growth is not really an ambition Leal has. He states he wanted to keep the league “low key” because of the stress level because he likes how the system is working.

Leal states his league is different from others because all of the teams put money into a pot at the beginning of the year and the pot is decided before the championship game by both teams. They can either make it winner take all of decide on a percentage split.

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Timothy Ramsey

Timothy Ramsey

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