SHOWTIME Basketball announces BONDED BY BALL: INSIDE THE OBL, a four-part documentary series chronicling the inaugural season of the Ones Basketball League (OBL). All four episodes of the series premiere consecutively on SHOWTIME EXTREME starting at 10 p.m. ET/PT on Friday, July 28, and all episodes will be available on demand and on streaming for Paramount+ with SHOWTIME subscribers on the day of premiere.
Founded in 2022 by seven-time NBA All-Star and Hall of Famer Tracy McGrady and award-winning sports business executive and entrepreneur Jeffrey Pollack, OBL is an elite one-on-one competition series designed to discover and spotlight the best one-on-one players around the world and celebrate the competitive spirit of basketball.
“BONDED BY BALL takes you on a journey with incredible athletes you haven’t met before and also gives some insight into my life story,” McGrady said. “When I look at these players, I know how it feels to be overlooked and undervalued. When an opportunity is given, what are you going to do with it? These guys are out to prove something, and we are proud to bring their stories to a larger audience for the first time.”
“Tracy and the OBL fit the ethos of SHOWTIME Basketball, and BONDED BY BALL is a reflection of the type of boundary-pushing and innovative content we strive to create,” said Brian Dailey, SVP, Sports Programming & Content at SHOWTIME. “If you look at our roster, it’s full of Hall of Famers and champions who are open to sharing their experiences, just as Tracy has with this league and through this series.”
The documentary series is an intimate look at the league’s three-month tour across the U.S. during its 2022 season, highlighting competitions in Houston, Brooklyn, Washington D.C., Los Angeles and Las Vegas. The series, guided by McGrady, reveals the compelling and often heartbreaking stories of the star players. By uncovering each athlete’s unique personality, determination, style and circumstances, the series is an in-depth exposé on the collective joy and disappointment that comes with both basketball and life.
“One-on-one is the essence of basketball and Tracy’s vision for the game opens up a new world of storytelling,” said Pollack. “We are creating a unique stage for amazing athletes who deserve a chance to shine in the spotlight and our ultimate ambition is global. Fans can be with us at the start, enjoy a behind-the-scenes look and get closer to Tracy thanks to SHOWTIME.”
In each of the cities on the tour, 32 players compete for a chance to win $10,000. The winner in each city takes home the cash prize, and the top three players from each city earn a spot in the OBL Finals in Las Vegas and the opportunity to compete for the grand prize of $250,000.
The featured competitors include:
- George Beamon, Roslyn, N.Y./Manhattan College (Los Angeles Winner)
31, co-captain and two-time First Team All-MAAC at Manhattan College. He averaged 18.8 points and 6.5 rebounds per game in 2013-14 after a season-ending injury the previous year. Won OBL Los Angeles Regional to claim the $10,000 prize and qualify for OBL Finals.
- Isaiah Brown, Queens, N.Y./SUNY Potsdam (New York Winner)
25, nicknamed “Leaky Roof,” played at SUNY Potsdam. The sharpshooting lefty averaged 24.2 points per game in 2019-20 at Potsdam after transferring from Missouri State-West Plains. Won OBL New York Regional to claim the $10,000 prize and qualify for OBL Finals.
- John Jordan, Houston/TAMU-Corpus Christi (Houston Winner)
29, arrived from Romania just in time to compete in the OBL. He’s one of the most decorated players in Texas A&M-Corpus Christi history, totaling more than 1,500 points, 500 rebounds and 500 assists in his TAMU-CC Athletics Hall of Fame career. He played overseas and in the G-League, where he won the dunk contest in 2017. Won the OBL Houston Regional to claim the $10,000 prize and qualify for OBL Finals.
- Matt Kiatipis, Newmarket, Ontario/Simon Fraser University (Houston Runner-Up)
21, played a year for Simon Fraser University in his native Canada. He then turned his focus to other basketball pursuits, including a strong social media presence, park takeovers and dunk videos. The youngest OBL Finals qualifier, “M.K.” took second in the Houston Regional.
- Kevin Kuteyi, Lanham, Md./Gannon University and Chowan University (DMV Winner)
29, had one of the more vocal rooting sections at The St. James. In two collegiate seasons, one at Gannon University and one at Chowan University, he averaged 12 points per game and shot 40% from deep. “Uncle Skoob” came into the OBL DMV Regional as the No. 8 seed and had to win a play-in to get into the quarterfinals. Won the OBL DMV Regional to claim the $10,000 prize and qualify for OBL Finals.
“When you see that pain I’m putting in, it’s because I missed out on an opportunity,” OBL finalist George Beamon expresses in BONDED BY BALL: INSIDE THE OBL. “I want to get that breakout that I should’ve got. That ain’t stopping me. It’s motivating me.”
Beamon is not alone. The OBL is designed to create opportunities for gifted athletes who can earn a chance to shine on a national stage. McGrady’s devotion to nurturing and motivating the hundreds of players in the OBL comes from a shared place of perseverance and dedication.
BONDED BY BALL: INSIDE THE OBL is co-directed by Eric W. Newman and Rashad Floyd, and executive produced by Stephen Espinoza, Dailey, Newman, McGrady, Pollack and Elissa Grabow. Newman also directed and produced SHOWTIME documentaries KEVIN GARNETT: ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE and BE NOW: INSIDE THE 2022 IVERSON CLASSIC, and the show ALL THE SMOKE WITH MATT BARNES AND STEPHEN JACKSON.
This documentary series adds to the award-winning rolodex of documentaries and docuseries from SHOWTIME Basketball, including GOLIATH, STAND, Kevin Durant’s NYC POINT GODS, LeBron James’ SHUT UP AND DRIBBLE, KOBE BRYANT’S MUSE, QUIET STORM: THE RON ARTEST STORY, PASSION PLAY: RUSSELL WESTBROOK and KEVIN GARNETT: ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE. SHOWTIME Basketball is also comprised of shows including ALL THE SMOKE WITH MATT BARNES & STEPHEN JACKSON, KG CERTIFIED WITH KEVIN GARNETT, TICKET & THE TRUTH, WHAT’S BURNIN’ hosted by Rachel Nichols, HEADLINERS WITH RACHEL NICHOLS and THE ARIEL HELWANI BASKETBALL SHOW.