Following on from the quite amazing London 2012 Games, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park will continue to welcome basketball when the Lions move in this summer.
The London Lions will be the first professional sports team to move to Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. Their first game will be in August.
Lions players had their first taste of the fantastic venue when they were granted exclusive access whilst it is being transformed for legacy use.
The players were spell bound by the £55m building. Rookie sensation, Orlan Jackman, 24, who grew up in Hackney and was educated at Homerton College of Technology just 600 yards away was ecstatic, he said: “It’s one thing to play in my home city but this is really playing at home!”
Jackman, the Lions leading scorer is not the only local in the squad, as Laurent Irish, 34, honed his game in Hackney too and is already working off the floor in local schools and with youngsters teaching them basketball and essential life skills.
A key part of the London Lions move to the Copper Box will be continuing this work with local people.
The Copper Box will be open from 27 July 2013 and will be operated by GLL on behalf of owners the London Legacy Development Corporation with a full programme of events and activities for the public to take part in and enjoy.
Dennis Hone, Chief Executive of London Legacy Development Corporation, said:
“We are delighted to welcome basketball back to the Park in the form of London’s only professional basketball team, the London Lions. It was one of the most popular sports of the London 2012 Games and I’m sure will continue to be a popular sport with Londoners. The Copper Box will host at least 21 basketball games per year as well as offering a wide range of sporting opportunities for the public to use on a daily basis.”
Peter Bundey, Director, GLL said:
“There is already a growing debate around legacy from the Games and this is the first of many tangible initiatives that we are working on under our ‘GLL Inspired’ Legacy programme. We believe that this partnership will become the most exciting legacy catalyst for Basketball in London, with unrivalled community engagement working alongside a premium BBL club. This will be a structure that is also capable of bringing a much needed development pathway to support other basketball clubs within the Capital. It is therefore fitting that the London Lions will be playing their matches from autumn 2013 in London’s newest and most exciting sporting arena”.
The Lions started the current season playing in the Crystal Palace National Sports Centre. Last Sunday the team attracted the largest crowd for a BBL game at the Palace in over 15 years, with a capacity crowd of over 1,400 people joining in the fun. The Lions next two games at Crystal Palace are also expected to be sell outs.
The Lions expect to build on this popularity when they move into the Copper Box in the autumn and will continue to develop a truly London-wide basketball club that touches all aspects of the game from grass roots right through to the Premier League level, the British Basketball League.
The London Lions development partner is the Reach & Teach Sports Network (R&T). Both partners play an integral part in the development of a community orientated basketball club.
Reach & Teach is already the largest basketball club in the country, in terms of registered members. This is before you factor in the 5,000 participants involved in the London School of Basketball programme run by Reach & Teach in partnership with the Mayor of London.
This three way partnership for the London Lions ensures great grassroots engagement and the very best platform from which to develop the professional game. It also enables the Lions to create further partnerships with like-minded businesses that want to work with basketball at all levels to support the development of basketball into a major sport in the UK.
Vince Macaulay, Chief Executive, London Lions said:
“GLL’s legacy programme has made this happen; we have sponsorship and advertising packages that will ensure that you can engage with us at these levels whilst giving exposure to you, your product and your services even before we begin to provide fantastic entertainment for the growing number of fans out there. Please do get in touch and join us on this incredibly exciting journey.”
For further information on the London Lions, visit www.londonlionsbasketball.com. Tickets are available for all London Lions games at www.ticketmaster.com, including the crucial play-off run in starting this Sunday 3rd March at 5pm when the London Lions take on the Sheffield Sharks.
Adrien Sturt is the Lions tallest player at 6’11”
Jordan Spencer is the Lions youngest player at 18 years old
Mike Martin is the Lions oldest player at 38 years old
The Lions have an all-British team
There are six England Internationals in the Lions squad