ANDERSON — At some point early in their debut game on Saturday at Eastside Elementary, the Anderson Legends huddled near midcourt.
The gathering was not so much a strategy session as a chance for the players to express their awe over the capacity crowd that turned out for a 160-109 victory against the Indianapolis Kings.
“I loved the crowd, I loved the energy, I loved the atmosphere,” CEO/guard Troy Taylor said. “The feeling we got, it felt really good. It’s just blessed we have been given this opportunity.”
Now the team’s moving onto an even bigger stage. Tonight’s game against the Fort Wayne Pro-Am All-Stars will be played in the main gym at Anderson High School.
After turning some fans away at the door for the opener, Taylor rededicated his efforts to find a new home for the National Basketball Development Leagues Association (BDL) franchise.
Taylor gave thanks to AHS principal Terry Thompson and athletic director Steve Schindler for their support. It was very important to the former Indians star that the team continue to play within the Anderson city limits, but it quickly became apparent Eastside could not satisfy the Legends’ needs.
“I feel like it can just continue to grow,” Taylor said of the fanbase. “If everybody brings one or two new people along this time, obviously that will double or triple the crowd.”
Much of Taylor’s efforts are being concentrated on local schools. He spent part of the week meeting with area principals and asking them to include information about the Legends in their end-of-day announcements.
He remembers watching NBA games in his youth and marveling at the athleticism on display. He hopes the BDL team can similarly instill a love of the game in young area residents today.
To that end, Taylor is pushing a fast-paced, acrobatic brand of basketball. Players also remained on the court after the game to sign autographs and take pictures with fans.
In the opener at least, it was a hit.
“People were telling me this was the best $6 they’ve spent for entertainment in awhile,” Taylor said, noting some fans already have begun asking about obtaining T-shirts and other apparel. “We just gotta keep putting on a show, keep winning and keep having fun.”
Tip-off tonight against Fort Wayne is at 6:30.