Celebrating the return of one of basketball’s most iconic competitions to Chicago after a four-year hiatus, organizers Wilson and Dreamville have opened free ticket reservations today for fans of all ages to attend each weekend of The Dreamville Chi-League Powered by Wilson.
As part of Wilson’s commitment to the basketball community, the new official game ball supplier of the NBA is partnering with Dreamville, one of the most successful and influential brands in entertainment today to relaunch the three-week tournament in its hometown of Chicago, inclusive of community engagement and youth-enrichment programming. Inspired by a shared and deep-seated passion for the game of basketball, Wilson and Dreamville are joining forces to revive one of the game’s most celebrated competitions.
With this partnership, Dreamville – the title sponsor of Chi-League – also becomes the Official Sound of Wilson Basketball. Originally founded as a Grammy Award-winning and platinum-selling record label, the modern multidisciplinary entertainment and media company now lives at the intersection of sport, music and culture and is uniquely positioned to reimagine Chi-League like never before. Dreamville plays an integral role in the return of the tournament, helping to broaden the appeal, drive player interest, curate halftime music performances and other weekend entertainment, design custom warmup apparel, and offer other in-game experiences for fans.
Known to bring together current NBA stars, former collegiate standouts and local high school legends, the NBA-sanctioned pro-am will feature a men’s bracket consisting of eight 10-player teams in a single-elimination tournament hosted at Chicago State on Sunday, Aug. 8, Aug. 15 and Aug. 22. For the first time, Chi-League will include a women’s bracket comprised of four 10-player teams that will play the final two weekends, following the same format.
Wilson and Dreamville has partnered with long-time Chi-League organizer Jobba Maxey to manage the event and engage the community. A Chicago native and one of the creators of the Chicago United Hoops Classic, Maxey will apply his past expertise and act as tournament director and head of basketball operations.
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:
Wilson and The Winning Edge Leadership Academy will collaborate on an immersive learning experience for the next generation of leaders in sports business. The Gigs for Game Changers program brings together a diverse cohort of current and former student-athletes for workforce training supporting Chi-League projects in marketing, operations, communications and social responsibility. These Game Changers will also engage with Wilson and Dreamville employees through mentorship and professional development activities in the weeks leading up to the tournament.
Wilson and Dreamville will co-host youth clinics each Saturday of the league, working with local trainers and Chi-League coaches at the nearby YMCA (63rd St. & Stony Island Ave.)
The Winning Edge will facilitate a Town Hall to build a long-term relationship with the local community and enable allyship through action.
Local black-owned businesses from the surrounding neighborhoods will be engaged for on-site concessions and entertainment.
Fans can now reserve tickets in advance for all three weekends through Eventbrite. Although the tournament is free admission for all ages, fans are highly encouraged to reserve their spot in advance.
For those interested in supporting the YMCA, a limited number of paid tickets are also available for $50 each. These paid tickets will offer an elevated experience while at the tournament including express entry and reserved seating at each game. All ticket donations will benefit the South Side YMCA of Metro Chicago to help increase equity and access for local kids and families to participate in youth sports. Learn more about the local nonprofit organization at www.ymcachicago.org/southside.
Additionally, Wilson has revealed the Dreamville Chi-League’s initial rosters that includes more than 40 players and coaches now confirmed to participate in the August event. The lineup includes a number of current NBA players, as well as former NBA champions, Olympians, international pros and more.
Notable participants in the men’s division include the following, all of whom hail from the greater Chicago area:
Current professional playing in Europe; Former UConn player winning a NCAA basketball championship in 2014.
|Sterling Brown||Player-Coach||Current NBA player for the Houston Rockets.|
|Al McKinnie||Player-Coach||Current NBA player for the Los Angeles Lakers; Silver medalist in 3×3 basketball at the 2016 Summer Olympic Games.|
|E’Twaun Moore||Player-Coach||Current NBA player for the Phoenix Suns.|
|Kendrick Nunn||Player-Coach||Current NBA player for the Miami Heat; 2020 NBA All-Rookie First Team.|
|Chasson Randle||Player||Current NBA player for the Orlando Magic; 2021 NBA G-League Champion.|
|Bobby Simmons||Coach||Former professional basketball player; Named Most Improved Player in 2005 and played more than 10 seasons in the NBA.|
|Antoine Walker||Coach||Former professional basketball player; three-time NBA All-Star and 2006 NBA Champion with the Miami Heat; Former University of Kentucky player winning a NCAA basketball championship in 1996.|
We got a chance to speak with long-time Chi-League organizer, tournament director, head of basketball operations and Chicago native Jobba Maxey to discuss the preparation for the tourney, his favorite childhood hooper growing up in Chi-Town, favorite chi-town rapper, the United Hoops Classic, legendary hooper Ben Wilson + much more.
How’s Everything Going On His End.
How The Dreamville Chi-League Came About.
Taking a 4-Year Hiatus.
Preparation For The Tournament.
NBA Off-Season Moves.
Growing Up In Chicago, Favorite Childhood Hooper.
Being One Of The Creators Of The Chicago United Hoops Classic.
Legendary Ben Wilson.
Favorite Chi-Town artist.
What RESPECT. Means To Him.
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