Percy “Master P” Miller is changing the game again, but this time, it’ll be on the court.
Among other things, the Hip Hop mogul is most known for creating the blueprint for successful independent record labels. As president of the new Global Mixed Gender Professional Basketball League (GMGB), Miller is now aiming to break monumental ground in the world of sports and it’s all kicking off with an exhibition game in Las Vegas on September 23rd.
While seeing men and women face off on the court in a professional sports setting will certainly be the draw for the event, Miller also realizes the unprecedented impact the league will have on the furthering conversations about equal pay.
“Women and men playing basketball together, that’s unheard of,” Miller tells ESSENCE. “But talking specifically about equal rights and equal pay, in this league, the women will make the same amount as the men. A woman or a man could also be named MVP of this league. These were ideas that were already in place when James Scott created this league and then we implemented them once I came aboard.”
In addition to being president of the GMGB league, Miller is also the owner of the league team representing his hometown, The New Orleans Gators. Noting that his business and marketing savvy was part of the reason he was brought on by Scott to help run the league, Miller is confident that naming celebrities as owners of each team will add another unique element to their formula for success.
“Every team owner in this league is a celebrity, with both male and female team owners,” he says. “So, we’ll now also have female perspectives on how to run a sports business and female leadership, which you don’t see in professional sports. Right now in that industry, it’s a male-driven atmosphere, even with ownership.”
He also shared that each team owner is committed to using their platform as both coaches, and public figures, to ensure that each of their teams help each local community where the teams will play in major ways.
“You can expect to see things like basketball clinics for both girls and boys together, starting these young kids out early with that mentality of equality at a young age because we believe they’re going to be the future. They’ll grow up knowing that we’re all equal, nobody is too good to play against anybody because of their male or female gender.”
Former NBA and WNBA superstars Lisa Leslie, Caron Butler and Dominique Wilkins have been named coaches of individual teams, while Glen “Big Baby” Davis, Ron Artest and Carlos Boozer are just a few of the names recently added to various team rosters. Those who tune in for this Saturday’s exhibition game between the New Orleans Gators and The Atlanta Heirs (owned by XSCAPE songstress Tameka “Tiny” Cottle) can also expect to see a balanced mixed of male and female players on each team and on the court.
“In this league, each team will have 4 ex or current WNBA players, 4 ex or current NBA players and 4 rising stars we want to discover,” Miller adds. “So, this will be a league where I can find that person who should have been in the NBA or should have been in the WNBA, but just didn’t make it. I want to give those underdogs that probably really deserved it the chance to play on this professional level.”
Most important, P emphasizes that women aspiring to become apart of the GMGB league should know that the organization is serious about female talent, finding the best, and making sure superstar players are paid as such, regardless of their gender.
“In the next couple years, people are going to want to play in the NBA or the WNBA, and then in the summertime, come be a part of this to stay in shape,” Miller says. “When it’s all said and done, I want to see the people that come through our program know their business. If basketball is their business, they can leave saying, “I know it, 100% and I understand the importance of giving back with that platform.” I think players will leave our league with the feeling that not only did they have some great competition, but they also had fun, enjoyed playing and were able to give back doing what they love.”
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