by Brandon Naff
Some people outside of the NBA do actually get paid to play basketball. There are some professional athletes who don’t make millions playing a sport.
Cue the Bellingham Slam. Part of the International Basketball League, this team is composed of many players no one’s ever heard of. A few are graduates of Western Washington University: Ira Graham, Morris Anderson, and Derrick Webb, to name a few.
A former Whatcom Community College player, Charlie Van, is also a contributor off the bench.
The star of the Bellingham Slam is Jacob Stevenson, also a former Western graduate, who says he’s just “out there to have fun and win some basketball games.”
Stevenson is currently leading the Slam in scoring, averaging 28 points a game.
From 2005 to 2007, the Slam was a part of the ABA, or American Basketball Association. In the summer of 2007, they announced they were moving to the IBL, a similar league, due to the fact that there were many teams from the Pacific Northwest.
The first year after moving to the International Basketball League in 2008, the Slam won the league championship.
According to the Slam’s official Web site, bellinghamslam.com, “the championship ended a 61-year professional basketball title drought for the city of Bellingham,” since the Fircrests won the Pacific Coast Professional Basketball League title in 1947.
The Slam is looking to improve and get back to the finals again this year.
“I think this team is starting to shape up,” said general manager Bob Hofstetter.
Coach Rob Ridnour had nothing but praise for his team, as well.
“We’re a very entertaining team to watch, especially when we run the floor effectively,” he said.
The Slam’s home games can be heard on the radio on Bellingham’s local station AM930, KBAI, or they can be seen in-person at Whatcom’s very own Pavilion gym. Tickets are just $10 for adult general admission, or $15 to $20 for courtside seating.
“If you love basketball, get down and see the Slam because you will enjoy it,” said Mark Scholten, color commentator for the Slam.
Right now the Slam sit at second place in the standings with a 3-2 record. Their next game is at home on Friday, May 14, against the British Columbia Titans, with a tip-off time of 7 p.m.