Basketball is Back at James Lee

The League of Champions begins its thirds season at the James Lee Community Center

With squeaking sneakers and Go-go blaring from the speakers, summer league basketball is back at the . 

Following the success of last year’s campaign, the all-in-one Falls Church facility has expanded the league to ten teams, acquiring the best teenage talent in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area. 

“The league has really taken on a life of its own,” co-creator Erin Daise said of the program. “The first couple years we really had to recruit to fill the rosters, this year the kids promoted it to their friends, and we actually had to turn a few teams down.”

The increase in popularity off the court has really bolstered the level of play on it.  Not only does the 2012 league feature a handful of Division I scholarship players, but it has also become a showcase of talent that attracts scouts and coaches from all collegiate levels on a weekly basis.

“It has always been my main goal to give the kids an opportunity to be seen,” co-creator Barry Jones explained. “We are really glad to potentially help them find another avenue for success.”

And the scouts aren’t the only ones taking notice. 

The local community is starting to catch the buzz as parents, peers, and young admirers flock to the gyms for Monday and Wednesday night triple-headers full of crazy crossovers, dazzling dimes, and high flying clashes at the rim. 

While all involved are ecstatic with the league’s development thus far, Jones still sees basketball as just the beginning.

“I’d really like to take the success we’ve had with the league and put it back into education, team building, and community development,” he said.

Jones, Daise, and entire James Lee staff are currently developing programs that enable kids to use the creativity and work ethic they have gained playing basketball to pursue professional crafts such as writing, photography, and video editing.


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