Thursday , Feb , 24 , 2005 C.Y. Ellis

Interview of YPA’s CEO Courtney Smith

Exclusive interview of YPA CEO Courtney Smith for

Hoopsvibe: What does YPA stands for?
CS: YPA stands for Young Players Association. It signifies a united basketball brand started by Real Ballers.

Hoopsvibe: How did YPA started?
CS: In 1999 I was always playing basketball in Pro Ams and Top Gun tournaments and there was a network of people that we played against at every tournament or saw every weekend at the gym. It was an organization that already existed. We knew this was the same everywhere worldwide for people who loved basketball like we did. We just decided to put a name on it and create a brand behind it. We also wanted to showcase talent in conjunction with the brand. So, as we grew, we took in all aspects of the basketball market, including Streetball.

Interview of YPA's CEO Courtney SmithHoopsvibe: What is your objective for the next few years?
CS: Our main goal is to bring awareness to our brand. We want to have a strong presence in the basketball apparel market getting our clothes and DVDs into stores worldwide.
YPA just signed a distribution deal with Warner Bros (WB). WB will begin worldwide distribution of our products (including our new upcoming DVD “The War”) this March, 2005. We will have something for everyone.
Look for YPA basketball shoes summer ’06.

Hoopsvibe: You are currently looking for new talents to grow the team. Can you tell us a little bit more about that?
CS: One of our main goal as a company is to create opportunity for players to showcase their talent to a larger audience, as well as getting paid along the way. We are fortunate enough to have the opportunity this year to create a larger scale national tour. There are only 450 who have the privilege to make it to the NBA. This is our first step in providing an alternative means to realize a dream. We had 3 of our players get picked up to do other things making money along the way; this is a honor to us as we in no way, shape or form lock our players down from achieving their dreams. We want to take that show on the road put good players out there that may have slipped through the cracks to either play in our program or another program that takes them where they want to go.

Hoopsvibe: What qualities are you looking for in a player?
CS: Game. Attitude. Discipline.
You have to posses the game that allows you to stand out, to step up and to win. Whether that’s the ability to cast 3 pointers until the net burns, hops, or handles you must have the fundamentals as a foundation.
You have to have a winning attitude that listens. We don’t really have time for egos or people that think they “know it all.”
Lastly, you have to be disciplined. A player should be always working on his game and getting stronger while practicing to keep improving your game. Someone who is on time and focused.

Hoopsvibe: Some of your players got beef in the past with the And 1 team. Can you clarify what happened and your position regarding And 1?
CS: You’ll have to wait until March 2005. YPA’s newest DVD “The War” will explain it all IN DETAILS.

Hoopsvibe: Streetball DVD’s & city tours is a concept that And 1 is already successful at. How are you differentiating YPA from this?
CS: Just like there is more than 1 team in the NBA that plays professional basketball, there is also other Streetball talent out there that is as good or better than And 1. I consider And 1 as just 1 team. There are hundreds of players with the same abilities around the world. YPA is partnering with other Streetball groups and creating an opportunity for more to shine.
From a business prospective, we are second to market. That is a great place to be because the market is always looking for a competitor and will sometimes pull them up just to have a choice. We also have a model to look to. But second to Market was always been a battle for years. IBM to Apple. Remember, there was some college drop out of his garage named Bill Gates who came in and changed the game.
Mcdonalds to Burger King, or Foot Locker to Foot Action, Walmart to Target, Circuit City to Best Buy, now And 1 to YPA.
We have better insights because we are balers and AND 1 executives are not. Our staff plays hoop just as much as our players do. If new players want to be a part of YPA, I play them 1 on 1 at least once before they you are picked up. If you can’t beat the CEO you can’t run. (And I got D! Plus I hack 😉
You will see some similarities because And 1 does a lot of things well. But there will be enough differences where people will have a clear distinction in their minds between the two.

Hoopsvibe: What should we expect from YPA over the summer 2005?
CS: YPA II: “The War DVD” will be released in the Spring as well as our clothing line.
We are booking cities for our international tour late summer/fall. Check the website for updates on where. We will be playing with your favorite streetballers to bring excitement and enjoyment to everyone watching.
We have also partnered with companies this year and have expanded our circle of influence.
Also, we will be holding basketball Camps and clinics in California all summer long for kids who want to learn fundamentals and improve their game (not only Streetball).

Hoopsvibe: Is there anything else you’d like to say to our readers?
CS: I want to say much respect to for holding it down on a daily! YPA appreciates your support. Keep being the voice of the game we love. Keep ballin!

One love.