ABA To Expand To North Carolina in ’08-09

By ABA Media Relations
Updated: June 22, 2008

ABAWINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — The American Basketball Association has announced that it has added Winston-Salem, North Carolina to its roster of expansion teams for the 2008-09 season.

According to Joe Newman, ABA CEO, “We are very pleased to be back in North Carolina — a great basketball state — and we have an excellent, well-qualified group of individuals leading the way. This will be a very successful organization.

Wesley E. Mason, III will serve as co-owner of the team. He is currently Chief Executive Officer at Old Vineyard Behavioral Health Services in Winston-Salem. “Wes is a driven, passionate, visionary leader who not only inspires his colleagues for excellence, but the lives of young people,” added Newman.

“Wes will bring the same energy to the Winston-Salem ABA team.” LaToya Camille Shine Mason is the other co-owner. Currently she owns and operates Edible Arrangements in North Little Rock, AR and successfully manages several real estate properties. “My vision is to bring a quality basketball team to Winston-Salem that will be entertaining and affordable to the community,” said Mrs. Mason.

Bryan Short has been appointed team General Manager. He is currently Director of Player Personnel at Alliance Sports Management. Bryan attended Kentucky Christian University and Florida Christian University, playing both baseball and basketball.

The Triad Community chose the name Winston-Salem Storm through the “Name Your Team” contest that began last fall and concluded in January 2008. Community members voted online and at 12 local businesses.

“This is the community’s team,” stated Mason. “It was important to have the community involved from the beginning.”

An overwhelming response to the name contest led to designing the brand identity. The Winston-Salem Storm partnered with One Hero Creative, a Winston-Salem based advertising agency, for this effort.

The logo embodies the essence of the ABA and the strength and passion of basketball within the community. The mascot, a local species of owl, was chosen because it is a fierce hunter that storms its prey.

Community support is instrumental for the basketball team to be successful for years to come. The Winston-Salem Storm is primed and ready to go according to team GM Bryan Short.

“In addition to bringing one of the most exciting professional sports to Winston-Salem, the Winston-Salem Storm plans to provide employment opportunities and internships, raise funds for local charities and create scholarship funds. ” Tryouts, internships, dance team and other team opportunities will be announced and posted on the website through local media.

Currently there are negotiations with the Joel Coliseum to play at the Annex. “Winston-Salem is already in the running for the 2009 ABA All-Star Game,” stated Wesley Mason. “I have discussed this with the ABA CEO. This is basketball country and there isn’t a better choice than Winston-Salem to hold such an event.”

NOTE: For more information, email or call Wes Mason at 336-409-1936 or visit www.winstonsalemstorm.com or www.abalive.com.