In May 2020, Wilson Sporting Goods Co. and the National Basketball Association (NBA) announced a multiyear global partnership that made Wilson the official game ball of the NBA, Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA), NBA G League, NBA 2K League and Basketball Africa League (BAL). This new role is something Wilson has taken seriously. Inspired by the idea that a basketball family is one built on competition and respect, on hardwood and blacktop and from streetball to the pros, Wilson is committed to creating a global community – at all levels of competition – that is truly Bonded By Ball.
And what better place to build the foundation than its hometown, Chicago. Inspired by a shared and deep-seated passion for the game of basketball, Wilson and Dreamville are joining forces to revive the storied Chicago pro-am, The Dreamville Chi-League Powered by Wilson, following a four-year hiatus.When planning the comeback, allyship through the power of sport was equally as important as continuing Chi-League’s on-court traditions. Through the new Chi-League, Wilson will work alongside Dreamville to provide the opportunity to build bonds with its local Chicago basketball community in multiple ways.
“Our core values at Wilson celebrate diversity and foster collaboration,” said Kevin Murphy, General Manager Wilson, Team Sports. “We see The Dreamville Chi-League Powered by Wilson as a unique opportunity to support both our Chicago and basketball communities through meaningful partnerships and lasting programs.”
One such program is Wilson’s Gigs for Game Changers (G4G) internship through The Winning Edge Leadership Academy. Wilson and The Winning Edge have worked together to create paid, short-term projects for current and former minority student-athletes (Game Changers) exploring careers in sports business. Throughout th program participants have gained workforce training supporting Chi-League projects in marketing, operations, communications and social responsibility. These Game Changers have also engaged with Wilson and Dreamville employees through mentorship and professional development activities in the weeks leading up to the tournament, including a “Dinner of Influence” intended to introduce Game Changers to business and community leaders to learn from their experiences and create connections.
While Gigs for Game Changers focuses on building community for college students, Wilson has also introduced programming at the South Side YMCA. Each Saturday of Chi-League, Wilson is hosting special youth clinics for YMCA kids, focusing on access to play, skill development and team building. Wilson Advisory Staff member and top basketball trainer Chris Brickley will lead the clinic on Saturday, Aug. 14. In partnership with Wilson, The Winning Edge will facilitate a Town Hall at the South Side YMCA on Saturday, Aug. 21, building a foundation to a long-term relationship with the local community and enable allyship through action.
“This is not just about basketball, but bridging the gaps in the community,” said long-time Chi-League organizer and Chicago native Jobba Maxey. “These black-owned businesses are engaging and forging these relationships, and that will be huge.”
A limited number of paid tickets – offering Chi-League fans an elevated experience – will benefit the South Side YMCA of Metro Chicago.
Wilson views the Chi-League revival as just the beginning of its commitment to building community through the sport, knowing good things can happen when we are Bonded By Ball.
Fans can reserve tickets in advance through Eventbrite. Although the tournament is free for all ages, fans are highly encouraged to reserve their spot in advance.