Photo credit: Makai Conner
Q&A | Talking hoops and opportunity with the owner of Flint United, Kevin Mays
Although Flint native Kevin Mays didn't quite have a goal of owning a sports team, his love for the game and his hometown led to him becoming the owner of professional basketball team, Flint United.
The announcement of his ownership came in late-2020 where it was also revealed that the team would be playing in The Basketball League (TBL). The team is mainly comprised of basketball players who have previous played in the NBA and G League as well as overseas.
Kevin previously served as director of sales for the Flint Firebirds, and director of game day operations for the Flint City Bucks. His new role as owner allows him to be more hands on with the inner-workings of the team while contributing to the city's esteemed sports culture.
With the playoff season underway and a busy schedule in tow, Kevin was still able to speak to The GOODS about his experience with Flint United. During our conversation, we discussed his reason for wanting to bring pro basketball to Flint, what he looked for in potential players, his favorite sports team, and much more. Keep reading to get “the goods” on Kevin Mays.
The GOODS: With you playing key roles in the Flint Firebirds and the Flint City Bucks, did you always have plans to own a sports team or did the opportunity find you?
Kevin Mays: “The opportunity really just found me coming from those roles. I started doing some freelance consulting work for a firm based out of L.A. and The League (TBL) actually was one of our clients. When I started to unpack that and saw how we could add value, just learning about The League and what it took to add value, it would only make sense to bring a team to the city of Flint.
At first, I was gonna see if someone else wanted to stand in as an owner and really take ownership of this thing. The more I thought about it, I was like, “I'll just do it myself.” And that's how it kind of got started. I think everyone's dream that works in the industry is to own a professional sports team. It was right there so I took advantage.”
TG: What made you want to start the team in Flint?
KM: “There's so much change in the city right now. There are so many added elements in sports, entertainment, arts, and it was just the right time. We've got the Bucks and the Firebirds, but basketball is our lifeblood; that's what we're known for, that's what our city thrives on, so it was just the perfect time and perfect place.”
Photo credit: Flint United (Facebook)
TG: How has your life been since the announcement of Flint United?
KM: “I'll say was at least an 18-hour job not too long ago because I was standing in another role so I spend every waking moment of every day, to bring this to life. I was a supervisor at General Motors so I was working from 6:00 p.m to 4:00 a.m and then waking up at about 9:00 a.m to do team duties. I was able to step away from that and I’ve been able to clear up a lot of my time and allow me to really get things moving a little more quickly.”
TG: With Flint having such an amazing spirit of sportsmanship, what kind of qualities were you looking for in the players who tried out for Flint United?
KM: “First thing was athletic ability. Gotta have some good athletes and guys that have somewhat of a high basketball IQ. We have a lot of athletes that are living in the city limits that are playing good basketball at the high school, collegiate, and overseas level so we want to pull those guys out, see what kind of talent they have.
And then we were looking for height. A lot of people have asked why the entire roster isn't made up of guys from the city of Flint. As much as we'd love to, the tallest guys that are able to play basketball in the city might be about 6’4 so going into the league, we need some 6’7, 6’8, 6’10, seven-foot guys to be competitive.”
Photo credit: Flint United (Facebook)
TG: What has been the most rewarding about bringing Flint United into fruition?
KM: “Being a community leader and having the team in the organization are probably the most rewarding things. Sports has shaped my life in so many ways and I wanted to give those same opportunities to the youth in our community.”
TG: What's your favorite sports team?
KM: “The Pittsburgh Steelers. The first starter jacket that I got when I was a kid was a Pittsburgh Steelers jacket and I just loved them ever since.”
TG: Any shout outs?
KM: “Shout out to the city for all the support!”