- Symone Stanley
AEBL Women Commissioner Christina Granville advocates for young girls in the city
When Christina walks into an AEBL game, you can bet she has two things with her: a big smile on her face and a stack of flyers for her upcoming basketball camp.
“You’ll probably hear me on the side of the court...I’m always very vocal.” She laughed.
Christina “Ms. Basketball” Granville came to Atlanta from southern Florida with a love of hoops and a passion for the youth. She had no idea that an emerging summer league in the city would allow her to nurture them both.
“Where I come from, we don't have a league like that. I have always heard about summer leagues. I have always heard about Drew League, and the league going on at Ruckers Park, so i'm like wait, Atlanta has a summer league? I have to check this out!” she exclaimed.
Ever since her first game in 2013, Christina has made the most out of her AEBL experience. From networking with athletes to competing in celebrity games, you’ll never find her just sitting around as she maintains a vibrant presence on and off the court. She is a retired college and semi-professional ball player, but now she mainly resides on the sideline where she uses her energy as a host to keep the crowd hyped up. She has hosted many notable events including the NCAA Final Four and the NCAA Football Championship, so when she gets the opportunity to grab the mic at an AEBL game, she doesn’t shy away from the chance to work on her craft.
“I kind of work with the AEBL to help with their brand and they help me in exchange.That’s my career so that’s helped me in the sense of the basketball world so people can say ‘hey, she can do hosting as well for basketball games.’ It’s helped me meet more people, be able to reach out to younger girls. That’s my passion, to help young girls and even young boys. So they can see people that know how to play basketball at these games and at the different events that the AEBL puts on. It’s helped me in so many different ways.”
Christina mentors the youth in the Atlanta community by supporting local basketball-inspired organizations including Pretty Girls Sweat and Ballin' for Lupus Luvs. She also established her own summer basketball camp geared towards building self-esteem and on-court skills for young girls in a male dominated sport. She gives credit to the AEBL for introducing her to her mentor, Nate “Shot Doctor” King. King is a sports trainer who spent over a decade with the Atlanta Hawks youth camp and clinic initiatives.
“He is like the epitome of greatness when it comes to basketball camps. He has trained so many of the guys that play in the AEBL, even former NBA players. He works with USA Basketball a lot as well, but i met him through AEBL and he helped me with my camp. Just like trying to get in the mindset of what I need to do at my game. And he has become somewhat of a mentor for me with all the stuff I am trying to do with basketball, especially with young girls. He has helped me out alot, that is one of the most meaningful relationships that I have through AEBL.” Christina said.
Over her years attending the AEBL, Christina has met countless individuals whom she admires immensely. Growing up in a small town, she never imagined she would be calling NBA athletes her friends, but it is their equal passion for the game that draws them together.
“Lou Will brings it every single time. You know you are going to get a show...He ain’t letting down. Those players that come in and actually play as if it’s an NBA game, is priceless. You have so many young kids who cannot afford to go to the basketball games...who probably can’t afford to see their favorite players play. So to see them come to the AEBL and give 110%, you gotta respect that” she mused.
Christina believes that the energy and hustle being displayed by pro athletes in the summer is going to be the pivotal piece to secure Atlanta a spot on the basketball map.
“The AEBL brings out so many dope players. It’s the only place I think in Atlanta that embodies the true meaning of basketball culture. You see dope shoes, you see hip hop artists, you see celebrities....You know New York is for basketball, you know LA is for basketball, even Chicago is a little bit known for basketball. Now with the help of AEBL, bridging the gap between entertainment and basketball...they are pushing the culture forward in Atlanta. I honestly think if it wasn't for AEBL, a lot of things wouldn’t be in Atlanta right now” she declared.
Christina now serves as the commissioner of the newly launched AEBL Women’s League.
“It is truly an honor to be the commissioner of AEBL Women. As a former women’s basketball player, I understand how important it is to keep the women’s game alive! There’s so many amazing ladies in the city of Atlanta who are not only phenomenal basketball players, but also amazing business women, moms, and so much more! I am so excited to build a dope platform to highlight women’s basketball players around the city. We already know Atlanta for music, technology, and business. Now with the AEBL, you are going to know Atlanta for women’s basketball!” Christina declared.