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In Atlanta, Overtime Elite Finds Not Just a Home, but a Community

Last Updated: July 22, 2021
The new league plans to put down roots in the area that extend far beyond a headquarters facility in midtown.

We’ve still got more than half of 2021 still to come, but it’s already been a huge year for Overtime. In March, the company announced the creation of Overtime Elite (OTE), a basketball program that will provide an alternative route to professional basketball for players between the ages of 16 to 18 — one that includes six-figure salaries and broad access to educational resources and mentorship.

In April, they reported $80 million in Series C fundraising to help supercharge the growth of OTE. And this week, we finally learned where the fledgling organization will headquarter itself: midtown Atlanta, Georgia.

But as OTE Commissioner and President Aaron Ryan told Boardroom, the A is poised to be more than just a base of operations for the league.

“We couldn’t be more excited to be in Atlanta – it’s a perfect fit for OTE. The city has a storied basketball history, diverse population, vibrant business community, and a rich culture,” he said.

“OTE is building a brand-new 103,000 square foot facility where our players will study, train, and play. The league will bring over 100 permanent jobs and over 400 construction jobs. We have been blown away by the reception we’ve received from the city and we look forward to being an active contributor to the community.”

In so many ways, the relationship between OTE and Atlanta goes beyond box-checking related to budget or convenience. Overtime Elite plans to become an active member of the community that has chosen to embrace it, not unlike the Woodruff Arts Center or the historic Fox Theatre.

The name of the game is to give more than it takes — something OTE and head coach Kevin Ollie aim to pass on to the players who come through the program in the years ahead.

“We have been welcomed by the local community with open arms. We have been speaking with stakeholders over the past year about the league and our commitment to the community,” Ryan said. “The response thus far from neighborhood groups, city and county officials, the larger Atlanta business community, and the academic community have been enthusiastic and supportive.”

Two key components of the local community are especially poised to work side-by-side with Overtime Elite to raise up a new generation of young adults who are personally and emotionally invested in much more than just basketball: the NBA’s Atlanta Hawks and the WNBA’s Atlanta Dream.

When asked about the potential for collaborations with the city’s two pro clubs of record — as well as the dozens of colleges in universities in the greater Atlanta region — Ryan was bullish.

“OTE leadership has long-standing personal and professional relationships within the Atlanta Hawks organization, with a deep respect for the team’s long history in the city and the role they have played to create positive change in the community,” he told Boardroom. “OTE has also been inspired by the impact that the Atlanta Dream and its players have had over the past year in using their voices to increase voter participation in the 2020 election. We hope to find synergies with both franchises and any organization working towards creating more opportunities for young people.”

Notably, Hawks All-Star point guard Trae Young is one of over two dozen NBA players currently invested in OTE. And it’s not hard to imagine the young phenom embracing the opportunity the program provides if were a high schooler today.

And if Overtime Elite has its say, we’ll look back years later and recognize that the next generation of Trae Youngs came of age just two miles up the road from the Hawks’ own State Farm Arena.

No wandering eyes here. The buzz after this latest announcement isn’t about expansion, or some network of OTE franchises.

In Aaron Ryan’s vision, it’s all about the A.

“Our focus right now is on Atlanta. We couldn’t have created a better fit for OTE.”

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About The Author
Sam Dunn
Sam Dunn
Sam Dunn is the Managing Editor of Boardroom. Before joining the team, he was an editor and multimedia talent for several sports and culture verticals at Minute Media and an editor, reporter, and site manager at SB Nation. A specialist in content strategy, copywriting, and SEO, he has additionally worked as a digital consultant in the corporate services, retail, and tech industries. He cannot be expected to be impartial on any matter regarding the Florida Gators or Atlanta Braves. Follow him on Twitter @RealFakeSamDunn.