Coach, owner Dominic Hernandez talks Dodge City Gamblers hoops
It's been 14 years since semi-professional basketball has been in Dodge City.
The Dodge City Legend were a team that ran in the United States Basketball League up until the league's folding in 2007.
Now through owner, general manager and head coach Dominic Hernandez, semi-pro basketball has returned to Dodge City by way of the DC Gamblers in the Minor League Basketball Association's newly formed Heartland Conference.
The DC Gamblers' home games will be played at United Wireless Arena.
According to the league's Facebook page, the new conference will consist of teams from Kansas, Nebraska, northern Arkansas, Oklahoma, southwest Iowa and western Missouri.
Born in Wichita, Hernandez played basketball all through middle school and high school and became a coach at the middle-school and high-school level, as well as through youth YMCA.
"I coached youth and men’s traveling team’s and created and coordinated basketball tournaments," Hernandez said to the Globe recently.
Hernandez was approached eight months ago by the MLBA general manager
Brandon Collins, out of Florida, on creating and owning a local team.
Hernandez agreed and sought Dodge City as the location for the team.
"Dodge City has wanted a pro basketball team again," Hernandez said. "Time to bring one back to the city and the people."
With previous pro teams in Dodge City folding a few years after their inceptions (Dodge City previously held an arena football team, the Dodge City Law), Hernandez said the MLBA has a strong background and growing fanbase, which separates it from previous leagues.
"DC Gamblers plan to stay for years to come with strong fan support," Hernandez said.
The teams will consist of players that have played in the pro leagues, overseas leagues, college and pro/am tournament players.
To get involved in the DC Gamblers, visit mlbahoops.net or www.facebook.com/MinorLeagueBasketball/, @DCGamblers on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
"Follow us on social media, attend any of our community events and/or sponsorship," said Hernandez.
The DC Gamblers have 10 games in their season, with five away games and five home games.
The next home game will be 7 p.m. Saturday, April 10, at UWA against the OKC Outlaws.
According to UWA, tickets range from $6-$12 and are available now through the UWA box office at 620-371-7878 or ticketmaster.com.
Looking towards the future of the DC Gamblers, Hernandez said Dodge City could expect to see its team, which is built from the ground up, become a household name as it gives back to the community and hopefully wins championships in the years ahead.