By Dorothy J. Gentry
The Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex is a haven for sports lovers. Pick a sport and there’s bound to be a local professional team to root for; the Dallas Mavericks, Cowboys, Wings, Texas Legends, Texas Rangers, FC Dallas, Dallas Sidekicks and more.
Add one more team to that long list; the Dallas Skyline, a new professional basketball team that now calls Dallas home. The owner and general manager is 28-year old Prescott Mack, a Garland, Texas native and licensed FIBA sports agent who is excited about bringing a team to the DFW Metroplex.
“What we are bringing is the third division of pro basketball in the United States,” he said. “There is the NBA, the G League, and then there is us (TBL). We are a legitimate, professional basketball team and we are excited to be here.” Dallas Skyline is the 10th team from The Basketball League (TBL), a new professional basketball league with teams throughout the nation.
TBL recently acquired the North American Premier Basketball League. Teams include Albany Patroons, Kansas City Tornadoes, Owensboro Thoroughbreds, Raleigh Firebirds, Tampa Bay Titans, San Diego Waves and now, the Dallas Skyline.
The team was awarded the franchise in March and has spent the past few months building its basketball brand, including strategically bringing in staff, building its market and working to set their basketball foundation. “We are one of the biggest markets in the League. We expect to win,” Mack said. “So we wanted the best of the best.
There is so much talent here in Dallas.” Much of the front office staff, including the coaching staff, have been hired. These include assistant general manager Christian Ross-Francis, head coach Chris Terrell, assistant head coach Finis Craddock, director of player development Ronnie Black, manager of community relations Sara Parsons, and DJ/community liaison, DJ Queen Agnes.
Texas Metro News/Garland Journal caught up with Mack and Ross-Francis during the recent Dallas/Fort Worth Association of Black Journalists’ mixer. They talked about bringing the team to Dallas, what fans can expect, serving as role models to other young, Black professionals and more.
TMN/GJ: How did you come up with the team name?
Prescott Mack: “I’ve traveled all over the world and every time you drive into Dallas, especially at night, the best thing you see is our Skyline. That’s what we’re known for. Everywhere you go, people say ‘Oh, you all have the best Skyline.’ “That’s where the name came from. I just wanted something that was Dallas authentic. What we are is artistic, modern, so I chose the name ‘Dallas Skyline.’”
TMN/GJ: How did the team land in Dallas?
PM: “David Magley and his wife (Evelyn – president and CEO), had a vision to create this league and I’m really close with them. Being a Dallas native, it was a no-brainer to have the sports franchise here.”
TMN/GJ: How did you come on board as assistant GM?
Christian Ross-Francis: “I first served as an intern at his sports marketing agency. I thought it (bringing the TBL to Dallas) was a great idea. I loved the fact that they were providing jobs for players. I was all for it.”
PM: “(Ross-Francis) has an amazing eye for talent so I lean on her when it comes to what type of players to sign, what type of culture to bring in, and more. She plays a huge role.”
TMN/GJ: How will you recruit players?
PM: “Our players are pros; either rookies, straight out of college, D-1, D-2 schools or pros that came from overseas that would rather play at home. The team’s first signee is South Garland High School native Charlie Shorter, who has played professionally here and overseas.
TMN/GJ: When does the season start/where is your facility?
PM: “Our season will last from February to May, with a preseason beginning in January. We will play all of our games at Loos Field House (a facility of 7,500 at 3815 Spring Valley Road).”
TMN/GJ: What can fans expect when they come to a Dallas Skyline game?
CRF: “They can expect an experience. We’re all about the community. We want to get the community involved with non-profits, schools, organizations and more coming out to games. We look at our fans as family, not fans.”
PM: (adding that fans can also expect plenty of affordable, entertainment and family fun.) “We want our court-side seats to be filled. The facility will also provide an intimate feel for fans. “Our players will be in the schools, serving as mentors, and more. They have a community requirement to be part of the team and the league as a whole. There are specific things they will do in the community to impact lives.”
TMN/GJ: What else is forthcoming?
PM: “We don’t have a mascot yet but it will possibly be a bald eagle with a Skyline jersey on. We may do a community event to name the mascot. The team will also have a dance team called the Dallas Flygirls. Audition dates will be released soon.
TMN/GJ: How do you feel about being role models to other young, Black professionals?
CRF (a graduate of Lakeview Centennial who played basketball at Jarvis Christian College): “It’s a blessing. I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do with my life. I tried modeling and other things but my heart was always with basketball. That’s my passion; it gave me hope that I’m a young, Black 29-year-old woman that can work in a professional realm.”
PM: said he appreciates the opportunity given to him but admits it’s been an eye-opening experience. “To be honest, it is nerve-wrecking and stressful, but it is also rewarding. I love it. I wouldn’t wake up and do anything else so the fact that I love what I do is great.
“When I am mentoring or talking to kids, I tell them I decided a long time ago that someone wouldn’t tell me how much an hour of my time was going to be worth. I decided if I wanted to make $20 an hour it would be because I chose that, or $75 an hour or whatever…so I made up in my mind I wanted to be my own boss and do what I love every single day.
“I didn’t want to dread waking up every day. Basketball has saved my life more times than not. It’s just a blessing to be able to do what you love, no matter how hard it is. When you love it, it doesn’t feel like work.”
TMN/GJ: What do you want potential fans to know?
PM: “Our hashtag is #skyisthelimit and that’s what I want our fans to know; that the sky is the limit. A 28-year-old Black kid from Garland, Texas owns a professional basketball team. I grew up wanting to play on a professional basketball team but God said no, how about you be an owner? So the sky is the limit. Whatever we think we can see, you can go beyond that. Your vision isn’t God’s vision.
For more information on Dallas Skyline, visit their social media sites: @dallasskylinebc on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter or email email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.