View Mobile Site

Rizers' front office is hardly a one-man show

Posted: July 10, 2012 3:31 p.m.
Updated: July 13, 2012 5:00 a.m.

As he looked into purchasing an American Basketball Association franchise, the first person Devin Lee told as to his plans was his wife and former Lugoff-Elgin track and basketball player, Nikia Knox-Lee.
Even with Nikia’s athletic background and her love of sports, she was caught off-guard and was a bit skeptical as to what she and her husband were getting themselves into with this new business venture. Her first reaction when Devin tried to explain to her what he was planning to do?
“What are you talking about?” she said. “That was my first thought.
“I’m still learning about it and that’s still my first question, ‘What are you talking about?’”
As co-owner of the Palmetto State Rizers, Nikia has been on a crash course as to learning as much as she can about the ABA and what is entailed as to being owners of a professional franchise. Her main role, she said with a smile, is making sure the man at the top has all his facts and figures at the ready when he needs them.
“Right now, I’m playing a low-key role as I learn about everything,” she said. “I’m in the background, just keeping him organized.”
One of the first things which Nikia did was to put her husband’s binder, which includes all the information on the team and league that he needs, in order. The binder is something which Devin carries with him wherever he goes these days.
“I organized that binder and went through it for him,” she said. ‘It was a big mess before it got here. He goes everywhere with that binder.”
One area in which Nikia has become involved is in looking for sponsors and trying to get the word out as to tickets and season ticket packages. Already, the Lees have secured one major sponsor and are trying to bring more businesses and organizations into the fold.
The Palmetto State Rizers, Devin Lee said, will have a hometown feel. And while some organizations say they are a family, the Rizers’ take that word to a new level.
In addition to human resource manager Brian Lewis, business and marketing manager, Kevin Madison, and general manager Charles Webster Jr., the rest of the organization and its workers are a family affair with Devin’s mother and step-father, Jessie Simmons and Herbert Simmons, his father, John Lee, and Nikia’s parents, Debbie and Larry Knox, all doing their part in one way or another to ensure the success of the franchise which will open its inaugural season this fall.
As for Nikia and her many roles, she has taken many calls from unknown numbers on her phone from prospective players trying to get information and tryouts as to the Rizers. That has led to her diving head first in the ABA’s by-laws.
“There have been a lot of e-mails and a lot of strange phone calls and meeting new people. It’s always something,” she said with a smile. “If I see a strange number on my caller ID, I say to (Devin), ‘You better take this.’
“It’s easy talking to people, though. I can get their questions answered if they call me. A lot of them call asking about the background of the ABA game, where it’s going and how it started.”
The Lees currently live in Virginia, where Devin works for the U.S Navy. They will be transferred to Jacksonville, N.C., shortly, which will make the commute to the Midlands much more manageable. That, Nikia said, is all right with her since “I love coming home, any time for any reason.”
As if moving the family will not be a tough task in itself, Nikia said she is more than aware of the fact that along with the move is the rapidly approaching start to the ABA season. There is much work left to be done and a short time for it all to come together.
“I’m so nervous about it …,” Nikia said. “I’m nervous about it sitting here right now.”

Interested in viewing premium content?

A subscription is required before viewing this article and other premium content.

Already a registered member and have a subscription?

If you have already purchased a subscription, please log in to view the full article.

Are you registered, but do not have a subscription?

If you are a registed user and would like to purchase a subscription, log in to view a list of available subscriptions.

Interested in becoming a registered member and purchasing a subscription?

Join our community today by registering for a FREE account. Once you have registered for a FREE account, click SUBSCRIBE NOW to purchase access to premium content.

Membership Benefits

  • Instant access to creating Blogs, Photo Albums, and Event listings.
  • Email alerts with the latest news.
  • Access to commenting on articles.

Contents of this site are © Copyright 2014 Chronicle Independent All rights reserved. Privacy policy and Terms of service

Powered by
Morris Technology
Please wait ...