Fort Worth D-League team has NBA talent

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    Most people do not realize it, but the city of Fort Worth is home to the Fort Worth Flyers, an NBA development league basketball team. As a D-league team, the Flyers boast of having players at the NBA-skill level, along with two members of the NBA who are currently playing for the Flyers to strengthen their skills.

    The Flyers are affiliated with the Dallas Mavericks, Los Angeles Lakers, Golden State Warriors and Portland Trail Blazers.

    Each of those teams is allowed to send players down to the Flyers to gain more experience and playing time.

    Having NBA players on a local team “allows fans to see current NBA stars right here in Fort Worth,” said Katrina Shutt, manager of business operations for the Fort Worth Flyers.

    The Flyers are in their inaugural season and were ranked first in the playoffs before eventually losing to Albuquerque in the finals.

    “This is a great activity for students. It is a fun way to socialize with your friends and enjoy NBA-level basketball at an affordable price,” Shutt said.

    Shutt also said they strive to involve the fans as much as possible. Fans can participate in court contests along with the mascot and dance team that serve to entertain the fans as well.

    One TCU alumna witnessed the courtside antics with one of her friends at a Flyers game.

    “A friend of mine was asked to participate in an on-court game between quarters. He played dodge ball with the Flyers mascot and a couple other guys. It was so much fun watching him run around the court throwing balls at a squirrel,” Sara Gray, TCU class of 2005, said.

    Gray said she would recommend a Flyers game to anyone who is looking for a fun evening out with friends.

    Kelly Caver, junior psychology major, said she enjoys going to sports games and had heard of the Flyers, but was unsure about what sport they played.

    “Cost is only part of what goes into my decision-making, but the biggest factor is social. I would want to know if my friends are going to the game. I am much more likely to go see a basketball game if my friends invite me to it, regardless of the cost,” Caver said.

    Caver also said time is another factor in deciding what entertainment venues to choose.

    “If I don’t have much time, it’s easier for me to go to a game on-campus and then be able to leave whenever I needed to. If it’s on a weekend, going downtown would be more fun because I just enjoy going there anytime I can,” Caver said.

    Aside from simple entertainment, Flyers team members give back to the surrounding community.

    Recently, the Flyers sponsored Read to Achieve Day. Players visited local schools and read to students, encouraging them and stressing the importance of an education.

    “We’re grateful for the opportunity to work with Fort Worth area schools and impact young minds in a positive way,” Todd Speer, Fort Worth Flyers team president, said in a media release.