The Story Behind Each Drew League Team Name

By Lauren Jones,

The Drew League is filled with teams with unique team names. Here’s a guide to the story behind the names of each team in the Drew League this season.

Team Name


A.P.E. Coach Jimmy Smith Jr. – “We got our name because my dad, Jimmy Smith Sr. sponsors us and he owns Amusement Park Entertainment (A.P.E.).”
California Basketball Club (C.A.B.C.) Coach Harry – “It has really always been California Basketball Club; I’m not sure why we changed it last year (2012) to Athlete’s Renaissance. California Basketball Club is a training program that has a traveling team and the club has been in existence for 25 years.”
Hank’s A1 All Stars Coach Cav – “The guys that played on this team are a collection of guys from three different schools that have all played for me – Compton College, Fullerton College and Mt. Sac. We’re like an all-star team of players from different areas and different teams. I’m considering changing the name to Houdini’s All Stars courtesy of George, the official announcer of the Drew.”
Hank’s Blazers There are certain Drew League team names that were not appropriately thought out.
Hank’s Bulldogs Dino Smiley, Commissioner of the Drew League– “All of the players are out of Jordan high school whose mascot is the Bulldog, so naturally the team was named the Bulldogs. It’s a fitting name because each of those guys is like a bulldog – tenacious, never giving up, fighting until the end, loyal to each other and their team. That loyalty was fostered because they all share a common school and community; they all come from the Jordan Downs Projects.”
Cheaters Dino Smiley – “Cheaters got their name years ago when we were playing pick up ball at Drew Middle School. There were certain guys that always cheated. They would call a foul and it wasn’t a foul or they would call something out of bounds and it wasn’t. There were six of them and they were the worst dudes to play pick up ball with. When the Drew first started, they decided to all be on the same team and so the team was named Cheaters. Once we started playing in the Drew I told them, ‘There’s referees now, so you can’t cheat.’”
Hank’s Cheaters 2 William Smiley, brother of Dino Smiley – “The original Cheaters wanted their sons to come in and play quality minutes, but since Cheaters 1 was so good back in the day they did not want to put them on the Cheaters 1 team because they did not want them to sit on the bench. When their sons started growing up, they decided to create another team, Cheaters 2. You would never know that now; no one predicted Cheaters 2 to be better than Cheaters 1.”
Hank’s Jaguars Coach Lovely – “The Jaguars are another cat associated with the Panther family, so I named my second team the Jaguars because they’re like brothers.”
Hank’s Panthers Coach Lovely – “Panthers was my high school mascot at McKinnley Senior HS in Baton Rouge, LA. I am a proud product of my school, so I had to name my team in the Drew the Panthers. They wouldn’t let me be the Black Panthers because I went to the white man’s army, so Panthers was the next best thing.”
Hank’s Spiders Coach Chester Harvey – “Hank Salvatori is my sponsor, so he changed the name. It used to be called Pasadena and we won 2 championships under that name, but for the last three years it’s been Hank’s Spiders.”Hank Salvatori – “I named the team Hank’s Spiders because a spider is a great athlete. He’s a great athlete because he has his behind between its legs and he can go in all four directions quickly with perfect balance. You can’t defend if you have your butt higher than your legs. It’s my concept, but the guys don’t follow what I came up with.”
Hank’s Top Prospects Pooh Jeter, Hank’s Top Prospects team captain – “Dart Stamps started an AAU program called Top Prospects. When I was 12 years old, all of my childhood friends (i.e. Bottoms) and I was apart of the program. When I got to the Drew, it only seemed right to name us the Top Prospects.Coach Dart Stamps – “All the kids I coached I wanted to show them the importance of education. My main intent in creating Top Prospects was to get all my kids college scholarships. I realized that they all had the propensity to play in college. All of them were tough kids coming from impoverished backgrounds who had the potential, desire, and work ethic to make it out, so I came up with the name Top Prospects primarily to support the kids I was coaching.”
Hard Times Coach Blowpop Stewart – “It’s hard times out here in the streets and it’s hard on the basketball court. If you don’t play hard then you’re going to get embarrassed. I don’t want anyone on my team that’s not a gangster. If you don’t want it then you don’t want to play with me.”
K&E Bulls Coach Tiny – “Originally it stood for Kevin Outlaw and me, Edmond Flourney because we created the team. In 1987, I changed the name to Kids & Education named after my non-profit organization. Kids & Education is a basketball association that trains youth.”
Kings of LA Chris Young, team captain of Kings of LA – “Me and Dorell [Wright] were brainstorming three years ago on what to name our team. We narrowed it down to two: Lost Kings and LA Kings. Then we just came up with Kings of LA and that stuck. On and off the court, Kings of LA, LAUNFD and Top Prospects run LA.”
LA Loop Ryosuke Nozawa (Yo), Owner of LA Loop – “Our symbol is two circles linked together. One circle represents Japan and the other America. We are from Japan and now we’re in America, so I wanted a name that would represent a connection between the two whether that’s in sports, education or anything else. Now, we live in a global world and everyone needs to see that.”
LAUNFD Brandon Bowman, LAUNFD’s team captain – “The name LAUNFD (LA Unified) was created by team captain Bobby Brown and me. The story behind the name is very simple. We were sitting in Bobby’s car brainstorming ideas to name our team. After the discussion of names that just didn’t work, a light bulb went off and we asked ourselves: ‘What is the one thing that connects all of us? What do we all have in common?’ Well, we are all from Los Angeles; that’s our one common force. The name LAUNFD was born, an acronym for Los Angeles Unified.”
Money Gang The Game, owner of Roley Boyz and Money Gang, Coach and Player – “It’s my team and I’m rich as f***, so I named my team Money Gang.”
Most Hated Players (M.H.P.) Nick Young, team captain of M.H.P. – “Most Hated comes from, we feel like we don’t get no calls in the Drew, we’re getting disrespected out here. We got players like myself, Javale, Gabe Pruitt, bringing in Gilbert, so people hate on our team. They don’t like to see us achieve because we do this out here. They hate on my name [Nick Young], ‘I Am Legend,’ here. I’ve just been hated on for years now. We used to be named the Young Grangers because Danny Granger was supposed to come on the team and it never happened, so we had to change the name. Most Hated Players fits us more anyways.”
Nationwide All Stars (NWA) Coach Rolland: “I’m from Dallas, TX and I brought my team from there. Five or six of my guys played in Europe, so I thought Nationwide All Stars was a fitting name. The only exception is Javale McGee, he’s a local guy.”
New Image Coach Antwon Tanner: “I have two teams in the Drew. New Image was the first team and has been in the Drew since ’95/’96. That is when we were originally called Them Kids because we always had young players mainly high school and some college. At that time it was players like Ryan Hollins, Eric Wise and Kawhi Leonard. As those young players got older, I decided they needed a new name and a New Image. That is how we changed the name to what is currently, New Image.”
No Shnacks Coach Gary – “A metaphor for nothing comes easy since snacks are easy to come by. It was originally snacks without the “h” but the “h” gave it a more unique sound. It stands for hard work and dedication; all of my players are willing to go the extra mile.I came up with it in 2007 and the motto was No excuses, no shortcuts. When I saw that Nike used “No excuse, just produce” it went along with that so well that I thought it was the perfect name.”Website –
Nova Stars Coach Antwon Tanner: “One of our original sponsors is Nova Stars Mortgage Company, which Coach Al Smith works for. We named the team after them. This is the brother team to New Image. After we started winning games, players started asking to join the team and we didn’t have enough room on New Image. I created this second team, so that more guys had an opportunity to play with us.”
Problems Coach Mark – “Back ten years ago, we were chilling at Mayfair and one of the players said, ‘why don’t we name the team Problems?’ He said, ‘every team is going to have problems with every single player once they get on the court.’ And I thought to myself, he’s right.”
Roley Boyz The Game – “We were trash last year so I had to change the name from California Republic. I have a lot of Rolexes so I changed it to the Roley Boyz.”Reportedly, after last year’s championship game despite losing to LAUNFD The Game went out and bought his team Rolexes.
**Running Rebels Coach Carl – “It’s pretty simple. I just named the team after the UNLV Running Rebels because they’re a respectable team.”
**Sky Ryse Donovan Morris, player for Sky Ryse– “I don’t just play basketball, I produce and write beats and the name of my company is Sky Ryse, so I just suggested it to Coach Mark.”Coach Mark Sprague – “He proposed the name to me and I loved it. I think it illustrates the essence of our team. We play hard the entire game and tend to rise at the end; there is no limit to how good we can be.”
Tradition Bim Okunrinboye, Tradition’s player – “We are named after our sponsor Tradition, which is a trendy urban retail store in the Beverly Hills. They’ve been sponsoring us for the last two years.”
Triple Threat Coach Lloyd Webster – “The team was named after a non-profit organization started by one of our players, Damieon Williams. The non-profit aims to help underprivileged inner city youth. Williams is also my assistant coach at Locke High School; he coaches the JV basketball team. By naming the team Triple Threat, I felt that it was a conscious effort to target youth in the right way. We could’ve easily named it after a well-known sports figure like Lakers or Magic, but we thought it would be creative to name it after something that is both broad and a basic basketball concept. One of the first things you learn in basketball is the concept of triple threat.”


Lauren Jones is entering her senior year at USC majoring in Broadcast Journalism with a minor in Sports Media Studies. This is her second summer interning for the Drew League. Her career aspirations are to work as an esteemed sports journalist and eventually as a consultant for athletes in financial literacy, public relations and brand management. Her past experiences include interning for Yahoo! Sports, the Los Angeles Clippers, BET Network, EAG Sports Management, and Nike EYBL.