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First African American Woman CEO of Men’s Professional Sports League Puts Community First

Gaby M. Rojas

Evelyn Magley represents a paradigm shift. As CEO of The Basketball League (TBL) — a professional basketball league with 49 teams and counting across the U.S. and Canada — Evelyn has a vision of professional sports that is radically different. For Magley, heading the fastest-growing professional sports league in North America is all about giving back, and helping players and communities be the best they can be.

Magley founded TBL with a vision she believes was divinely inspired: create a basketball league based on love that will reach out to communities and impact lives. That vision is summed up in TBL’s motto, “Where the Spirit of the Game Lives.”

“The vision was simple,” explains Magley, “To use the game of basketball to spread love to community.” As the league has been building over the last five years, it has been delivering on that promise. The smaller markets that make up the bulk of the league’s teams have rallied around TBL, working together in various ways. The players are given financial literacy and life skills training and are encouraged to act as positive ambassadors.

Magley believes that her position as an African American woman makes her particularly well-suited to the task of making TBL’s vision a reality. “70 to 80 cents of every dollar will be re-invested in community if a woman is in charge of a company. That’s just the way it is,” she explains, adding: “and as an African American woman and CEO of a men’s professional sports league, I am here to break through glass ceilings and tell you that, if you have been held back because you are a woman or black, it can be done!”

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