Yes, the Fayetteville Stingers are a professional development team in The Basketball League that seeks to help their best players move up the pro ranks, landing spots on foreign rosters or perhaps make an NBA roster.
But, during a press conference Jan. 17 at the Crown Coliseum, team officials emphasized connecting with the community as the first-year TBL franchise’s main priority.
“This team has to be active for this community and its young people that has a family-friendly environment that people can come out and have fun with their kids,” said head coach Robert Brickey, a 55-year-old former E.E. Smith standout who played collegiately at Duke under Mike Krzyzewski. “The time we walk out in our uniforms, what we do in warmups, how we conduct ourselves on the floor and in the community, we want to be a class act.”
“These are players you can touch.”
The Stingers are scheduled to open their initial season on March 3 in Raleigh against the Firebirds. Their home opener is set for March 10 at the Crown Coliseum against the Central Florida Force.
The Stingers will play a 27-game regular season with 12 home dates.
“This league is really strong basketball across the country. There's a lot of entertainment bang for your buck these days. There's a great place to come here for non-basketball things,” said Brickey, who began his coaching career in 2000 and last coached the Raleigh Firebirds of the TBL from 2018-2021. “We want it to be fun for our fans. We want it to be great for our community.”
Season tickets are on sale now. Single-game tickets are set to go on sale Feb. 1.
Single-game tickets for the upper and lower levels are $15 and $20. Courtside back and front tickets are $85 and $100. Season tickets are available for $350. Tickets can be purchased through ticketmaster.com and www.fayettevillestingers.com.
The TBL is in its fifth season, starting out as the North American Premier Basketball league in 2018 before changing its name to The Basketball League. The league started with eight teams. It now has 55, including 22 in the Eastern Conference where the Stingers will play, according to Stingers General Manager Raymond Phillips. The Albany Patroons won last year’s TBL championship, beating the Shreveport Mavericks 2-1 in the best-of-3 final series.
Fayetteville is the third team from North Carolina in the league. They join Raleigh and Charlotte (Purple Jackets). Phillips said about 90% of the players on the team are expected to come from Cumberland County.
“Our plan is to bring quality and affordable entertainment to the city of Fayetteville and its surrounding area,” Phillips said. “We look forward in 2023 to have the ability to bring the community together in a positive way far beyond basketball. In years to come, we’re looking forward to expanding our fan base and winning championships both on and off the court.”