Guest Blog – written by Robert Gibson
As a youngster growing up in Rosedale, Evelyn Magley always knew she was called to “greatness with a purpose.” This belief was indeed validated through her representing Frank Rushton Elementary School at the KCK Public Schools Physical Fitness Competition and becoming the first African-American woman to be homecoming queen at J.C. Harmon High School. Yet, what she did not know is that her greatest achievement to date would involve the game of basketball. “I always thought music would be my life’s work because that’s where I invested most of my time. Besides, growing up, the only sport I really cared about (until I met my husband) was football,” she recalls with a laugh.
Her love for music began at an early age through her involvement with the youth choir at St. Paul AME Zion Church (4000 South Minnie St., Kansas City, KS 66103). After singing in the choir as a youth, Evelyn and her sister (Alisa) went on to lead the choir until she departed to attend the University of Kansas, where she graduated with dual degrees in Music Education and Music Therapy in 1980. Upon graduation, she completed an internship at the now defunct Rainbow Mental Health Facility where she utilized her expertise in music therapy to counsel children who had been abused. Also, during this time, she developed “Children With Purpose” at St. Paul AME Zion Church: a non-profit organization that offered an after school tutorial program. CWP focused on mentally, physically, and spiritually empowering students to achieve their educational goals.
While all these endeavors continued to steer her towards a career in music education and therapy, Magley was aware that a commitment to serving and developing others would be a key part of her life’s work as well. “Growing up in Rosedale, around a community of people who loved each other, and seeing my parent’s commitment to mentoring young people in our neighborhood, I witnessed and experienced the impact you can have on people’s lives by authentically loving and investing in them.” Consequently, as Magley and her family moved around the world throughout her husband’s professional basketball career (including stops in Ohio, Florida, Belgium and finally Canada), she made it a point to involve herself with community projects and organizations that were committed to serving people.
It was during her time in Canada as the Director of Community Engagement with the Brampton A’s of the National Basketball League (NBL) that her alacrity for serving and investing in others gave her the vision to create The Basketball League (TBL). The male professional basketball league formerly known as the North American Premier Basketball League was acquired shortly thereafter. “Our Motto- ‘Where the Spirit of the Game Lives” embodies what our league is all about: using basketball as a platform to show love for our communities through the development and investment of our players,” states Magley, who serves as CEO of the league. Currently, the league has 11 teams for the 2019 season- including the local Kansas City Tornadoes- with plans to add and possibly double the league’s teams by the start of the 2020 season.
Under Magley’s leadership, the goal of TBL is to develop young men who make a difference in their communities. “Her passion for people allows us to build on a vision of impacting community through giving young men opportunities that do not exist today, then leveraging our platforms to engage each local market to benefit the youth and non-profit initiatives she is so very passionate about,” according to her husband, David Magley- who serves as President of TBL. In addition to her other community endeavors to date, statements like this make it clear that Evelyn Magley is committed to reciprocating the love and investment Rosedale gave her to as many people as she can.
To learn more about Evelyn Magley and The Basketball League, listen to Episode 75.