Who are the Tampa Bay Titans?: The opal of The Basketball League
The Tampa Bay Titans serve as one of the pioneer professional basketball organization Florida's bay region, a market that loves its sports. I think it is fair to say that The Basketball League has an opal in the Tampa Bay Titans organization. The rarity of the organization, however, does not exactly come from the team’s exploits on the court, at least, not completely. The rarity of the organization comes from its head office. Other General Managers were agents or owners, some were former professional basketball players themselves, Titans General Manager Gerald Williams’ resume is a little bit different from the others.
Gerald Williams is a retired Major League Baseball player. Williams set the New York Yankees team in-game hits record (6 hits), and in the same year won his first world championship. In 2003, he brought a title to Miami, with the (Florida) Marlins, against his former team the Yankees. His finest season, where most of his career records were, was in Tampa Bay for the (Devil) Rays. He was the Tampa Bay Devil Rays’ Player of the Year in 2000. Williams is probably the most successful General Manager in The Basketball League, just not in basketball. While this can be a cause for criticism, I believe having someone of this caliber in sports as a GM is a great move. Williams knows what it is like to be the best at what he does; for him, winning is a mentality and a habit. This is the experience and wisdom that not many people get to have or give. While it is somewhat risky, it can also be seen as genius.
What makes this organization special for me, is the fact that they have the first player-owner in professional Basketball. It is not very often that you search a professional athlete’s name and a LinkedIn profile comes out first. This is the case with Titans owner, six-foot-four, twenty-six-year-old shooting guard, Bassel Harfouch. Harfouch is a Tampa native who played in Division 1 during his collegiate year, and then in the G-League. Building this organization has helped provide a different path for top players who go undrafted with the NBA, but do not quite want to go abroad due to obligations at home.
Player/Owner of the Tampa Bay Titans, Bassel Harfouch, video interview with Globally Ballin at the 2019 Draft Combine for The Basketball League.
When people hear “player-owner”, it is fair for them to think that the player-owner is only in the team because he or she is an owner. This is not the case with Bassel Harfouch. Tampa Bay was a mid-table team in the 2020 season and had a lot of trouble with creating winning runs. Inconsistent performances are what hampered their season, and the cancellation, again, was a determining factor in determining how their season could have ended up. Harfouch led the team in scoring, assists, steals, and free throw percentage. Jus to show his well-rounded game, Bassel averaged 23.8 points per game and 8.3 assists per game, with 2.2 steals per game. A fantastic two-way guard who can play at a high level, Harfouch shows why the “player” comes first in “player-owner”.
In my opinion, this team is one piece away from being a dominant force in The Basketball League. The upside in this team is their owner, leading the team on and off the court, and relating directly to his teammates/players. If he and Gerald Williams can move a few things around, I have no doubt that this team can go far.
This piece was written by Enrique Ortiz, a common contributor for Globally Ballin. This piece is the tenth article of the "Who Are They" series. An article series that takes a look at all the teams in The Basketball League from a fresh set of eyes. Each piece in this series will be out and available on the website every Tuesday, enjoy!
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Tampa Bay Titans. (2020). About Us. Retrieved September 12, 2020, from https://www.tampabaytitans.com/about-us
Tampa Bay Titans. (2020). Pro Basketball In Tampa. Retrieved September 12, 2020, from https://www.tampabaytitans.com/