Abdur Shabazz’s winding career path has led him from school athletics through jewelry design and, by way of an unexpected connection, to designing jewelry for an American Basketball Association project. Now he’s taking a jump into a new profession as owner and CEO of the new Providence Anchors ABA team.
Shabazz figures the Rhode Island sports landscape will be enriched with a professional basketball team and so will the economy, with 60 jobs in sight as the team moves toward the first games in fall 2014 (The ABA – a separate entity from the league that merged with the National Basketball Association in 1976 – is a professional basketball league that was founded in 1999. The league does use the original’s renowned red, white and blue basketball in games.)
Community work is also part of the vision. Shabazz is already working with an afterschool program at the John Hope Settlement House in Providence.
PBN: How did you get from playing college basketball in Florida to Roger Williams in Rhode Island?
SHABAZZ: My best friend at the time went to Brown and the assistant coach at Brown got a job at Roger Williams. That was the connection. I wasn’t too happy about 100-degree days in Florida [at Central Florida University]. So when the assistant coach at Roger Williams became head coach and asked me if I was interested, well, I was. I got a basketball scholarship to Roger Williams, but at a certain point I had to stop playing.
PBN: Why did you have to stop playing college basketball?
SHABAZZ: You’re only allowed four years of college basketball and I had two years in Florida and then two years at Roger Williams, so I exceeded my eligibility.