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Blast off!

BY BOB GOSMAN

June 8, 2012

Owning a professional sports team never even crossed the mind of Waukesha resident Elzie Flenard when he was playing high school basketball in Illinois. Now, Flenard, 29, is the new owner of the expansion Milwaukee Blast. The Blast will open its inaugural season in the American Basketball Association this November. "Even as we get closer to tip-off, it’s still really surreal," Flenard says.

In many ways, though, this is a natural fit. Flenard has always loved basketball, and he’s an entrepreneur at heart. In 2005, he founded Flenard Music and is president and CEO of Flenard Enterprises.

Although the name is the same, the ABA is not trying to replicate the old American Basketball Association that merged with the NBA in 1976. The games are mostly on the weekends so players can work regular jobs during the week.

The 30-game regular season schedule will include 15 home games at Wisconsin Lutheran College. By design, the team will be made up largely of players with ties to the Milwaukee area. "This is about more than just basketball," Flenard says. "We want high-character guys who will be involved in the community and just happen to play basketball at a high level."

The team will be coached by former UW-Milwaukee standout Marc Mitchell, who played pro ball in Europe and the Middle East and whose name is on UW-Milwaukee’s All-Century Team for the 1990s. Of Mitchell, Flenard says: "He understands the game of basketball and, more importantly, he buys into our philosophy as it pertains to reaching into the community, helping people to be better and making a difference in people’s lives."

5 reasons to see an ABA game

1. Price: It is hard to beat high-level basketball for $10 a ticket.

2. Autographs: Players will sign autographs and interact with fans after each game.

3. 3-D basketball: The 3-D Rule light flashes when the offensive team loses possession of the ball in the back court. As long as the 3-D rule is on, an additional point is added to the value of each free throw or basket.

4. Back and Forth: Everything about the ABA is designed for up-tempo play.

5. Milwaukee Made: The focus is on players with Wisconsin ties.

 


This story ran in the November 2011 issue of: