In the summer of 2006, Jordan Voss, George Minor, Brandon Long and Doneilous King met in the back room of Doneilous' grandfather's home on Howard Avenue in Utica to form the King of Kings Intergenerational League. Now, the King of Kings Life Development Program is in its 11th year and delivers the best men's and women's summer pro-am basketball league in Upstate New York.
We have attracted the very best basketball talent from Rochester to Albany, including numerous people who have or are playing major college basketball, as well as some who have played in the NBA or overseas professional leagues.
Here are the highlights of our history.
That first 2006 season was a pilot program with gracious organizational support from For The Good Inc and other local sponsors. The league was composed of eight male teams ranging from 17-25 years of age from Utica and surrounding areas. Games were played at Proctor Park, with the Cosmopolitan Center as a rain site.
In 2007, we renamed as the King of Kings Life Development Program, with a strong emphasis on life skills such as education, employment and voter registration. We had five teams from Utica and three from Syracuse. Games were played at Proctor Park and the Cosmopolitan Center, and the play-offs and championship were held at Proctor High School. We attracted local businesses and organizations as sponsors.
In 2008, we added a women's division that remains part of our program. We moved indoors for all of our men's games with gratitude for our hosts, the Utica School District, Utica College, Mohawk Valley Community College, and Hamilton College. Attendance grew.
A big step was made in 2009, when we were sanctioned by the NCAA, allowing Division I male players to participate. That upped our level with players from Syracuse University and other major college programs. That summer, we also began a SAT-ACT prep program for nine student-athletes from Proctor High.
A College Prospect League for boys tipped off a three-year run in 2012. That first season, we were sponsored by Excellus BlueCross BlueShield and conducted an SAT Prep program for local male and female high school basketball players. Mohawk Valley Community College became our men's home in 2013, moving from Notre Dame High. Women's play continued at ND.
In 2015, the Community Foundation of Herkimer & Oneida Counties awarded us a grant to create a state-of-the-art website (www.kingofkingsutica.org), purchase equipment and pay for a student intern.
This season we are back with both leagues playing at MVCC. We are dedicating this season to two young men so important to the King of Kings family whose lives ended much too soon, Mychal Harris and Will Smith.