On October 12th, an electric atmosphere was felt by every single person inside of Bar 22 in downtown Chicago. The bar was hosting the Chicago Angels, an ABA team co-founded by Marquis Brown Sr., father of basketball player Kezo Brown, and Donald Johnson. Not too long ago we announced the formation of the Chicago Angels team. Now that the players have been selected, soon it will be time for the games to officially begin. Bar 22 was packed with people who came out to celebrate the Angels and what the Brown family has done. I was lucky enough to interview various members of the Angels during the meet and greet, including Coach Mike and Angels players Kezo Brown and Kejuan Darby. Here’s what they had to say:
*Coach Mike, coach to the Chicago Angels.
TrueStar: How does it feel to come in as the coach for the Angels?
Coach Mike: It’s going to be a great experience to be able to coach the Chicago Angels. All I know is basketball. It’s kept me out of trouble and it’s what made me want to stay in school. To be able to coach the sport I love is one of the most incredible feelings in the world.
TS: How do you feel about the group of guys you put together?
CM: I feel amazing about them. We’re a brotherhood. The chemistry of the team is great. We talk about everything, regardless of if its basketball or not. If one falls, we fall. We have a strong bond and it’s growing stronger as it goes. It’s an amazing group of guys and I’m proud of all of them.
TS: Who sticks out to you specifically in terms of leadership?
CM: I can’t pinpoint one specific person. They’re all equally great people and we all stick with each other. Like I said, we’re a brotherhood.
TS: Where will the Chicago Angels home games take place?
CM: 3120 S. Kostner at Infinity High School. Our first game is going to take place on November 2nd against the Chicago Vipers at Infinity high school.
TS: Where can one find the schedule for the Angels?
CM: It’ll be available online by next week.
*Kejuan Darby, part-time actor and forward for the Angels
TS: What does joining the Angels mean for you and your career as a professional basketball player?
Kejuan Darby: It’s amazing to be a part of the organization honestly. I’ve never been a pro before and I’m grateful for the opportunity the Angels has given me. It’s truly a dream come true.
TS: How was the journey for you to get here?
KD: The journey was long, especially having to go through a lot of hardships. It was mentally draining, and often I had to battle my own mind to get to where I am. The process was bittersweet, not knowing if I was good enough to play professionally. I never really had anyone tell me that I could make it, but I got myself through and I’m glad to be where I am.
*Kezo Brown, who is the motivation behind the entire Angels organization.
TS: This team looks to be doing big things, so what’s your expectation for the Angels and the season ahead?
Kezo Brown: Just to play right. It’s a talented team. We’re going to do the best we can to get the team to the playoffs in New York.
TS: Being a huge part of the Angels, what are you most excited about?
KB: Playing basketball is exciting, but helping out the community and bringing back the names of hard working hoopers in Chicago is the most exciting. In other words, making Chicago basketball beautiful again, just like Jordan did back in the day.
TS: Which basketball player is your biggest inspiration?
KB: Jabari Parker was my inspiration. I always loved watching him play and I watched him all four years that he played high school for Simeon.
TS: Could you give me some insight on your physical and mental health?
KB: I feel perfectly alright. My body feels amazing and I’m ready to play. I’ve made a full recovery all around. I’m grateful that God allowed me to be a professional basketball player and helped me get through everything.
The entire Angels organization is full of great people with great stories. I know I’ll be sure to check up on them constantly and am fully supportive of the Brown family and the rest of the organization. If you want to go support them, the first game is at Infinity High School on November 2nd at 7PM!
*Angels Instagram: @chicagoangelsteam
*Angels Twitter: @AngelsChicago
By Hugo Vazquez, Brooks College Prep, Senior