Kentucky’s NGBA Team You Didn’t Know Existed

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submitted by Sammy Tabor
special to Queer Kentucky

You probably didn’t know the National Gay Basketball Association even existed. Well… it does. We’re here, we’re queer, and we run like deer! Founded in 2003, the NGBA has grown to over one thousand members and upwards of one hundred teams. It’s mission is to provide the LGBTQ  community and its allies with a well-organized, supportive and welcoming sporting environment in the multiple tournaments it hosts annually.

Kentucky had never been represented on this national stage until this past January, when the Southern Kentucky Magic made their debut in style. Nine guys from Bowling Green may have pulled up to the Jam On It Sportplex in Las Vegas via limo and left with silver metals around their necks, but the origins of this story go back to 2018. That’s when four guys decided to build a roster that was LGBTQ inclusive and register it in the Bowling Green Athletic Club’s adult league. While the first year wasn’t as successful as they had hoped, the Magic hoisted the championship trophy that next summer.

A group of men in white shirts

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The success and momentum of 2019 was short-lived as the entire world was put on hold in 2020. Several players switched jobs, graduated from the local university, or moved away during the pandemic. With all this roster turnover, SoKy Magic had no choice but to reinvent itself if they wanted to continue. August 2021 saw a MASSIVE recruiting effort to get new guys to come out to Wednesday practices. The energy and excitement for the team grew week by week and soon they set their sites on registering a roster in 2022 Sin City Classic in Las Vegas. While this first tournament was very much a learning experience for the team and its board, they came away with a silver metal in the C Division which nobody in the NGBA saw coming.

The Southern Kentucky Magic have arrived and it doesn’t appear that they plan on stepping out of the spotlight anytime soon. They currently plan on sending rosters to the Queen City HoopFest in Cincinnati this spring and the World Pride Basketball Championships in DC this fall. You can see them play in local leagues or even join them for practices. Follow them on Instagram @sokymagic or email them at sokymagic@gmail.com for more information.

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