when dreams become cheap tricks

Over the holidays new drama develops for my family and it involves a small town scam.

So far as I can tell Xzuberant Faith Basketball Association and Xzuberant Faith Ministry Production is a scam that targets 20 something men interested in playing basketball.
[If anyone have any more information about this organization please leave a comment on this blog.]

Here is how I have come across it.
A “scout??? went to a church basketball league and recruited 6 young men from a small city in Northeastern Ohio. The men were “drafted??? to join a semi professional Christian basketball association that requires no try-outs, no background checks, no faith statement and no references only $150. This league was sold to the young men as an international and national ministry that travels across the globe playing in high school and college arenas.

They cannot be found on the web anywhere, no news articles, no sports videos, no team home-pages only the two web-pages made above on a free web server called zoomshare.com. Both the websites could have easily been created by someone who knows nothing of web authoring and within a couple really short hours (its one of the more cheesy sites i’ve seen in a while). This seems odd to me because one of the selling points of this basketball league is how much the players get paid.

There are 39 teams with at least 10 players each who have been promised 1,400 a week for 11 months out of the year.

One player would get paid $67, 200
A team of ten players (not counting whatever the coach gets paid) is $672, 000
The whole league of players are worth $26,208,000 a year

This is not counting the health insurance they are promised, all the travel costs that the league has promised to pay and then of course all the jerseys, shoes, costs of renting gym space for practices, for games, administrative offices, CEO’s, Officials, and the list continues.

And none of this has been picked up anywhere by the press, media, or google.

How can this be believable?

What I do know is that it targets churches, churches are great places to conduct scams, let’s face it.
Christian people are unsuspecting, trusting, can be not highly educated, often middle class or lower, and not well plugged in with the resources to protect them from predators. Its not that any of these characteristics are bad, in fact I fit most of them but they are inviting characteristics for people who are looking to take advantage of others.

After being promised to have the contract two weeks before the signing “banquet (where there was no food and the tickets cost $25)??? that took place on January 7th, the players from the small town, never got to review it with a lawyer and signed it blindly last night.

Though these league administrators claim to be “strongly Christian,??? they publicly stated at the foodless banquet that the main people who donated all the money to do this ministry are Muslims, an interesting fact for a league that will fine you for not tithing to a local church, cussing, and not attending their weekly Bible study.

That’s a lot of money for Muslims to be aiding Christians in their work of spreading the Gospel. Yet another point that raises my already peaked eyebrows.

The CEO’s of this multi-million dollar international ministry cannot be found anywhere on the web (other than their own jenky website) until now –

EXECUTIVE BOARD

MICHAEL HEARD – PRESIDENT/ CEO

GREGORY RAILEY – VICE PRESIDENT/ COO

JEVON BLAKE – ADMINISTRATOR/ CAO

Welcome boys. To the world wide web.

Two other really funny things about the banquet are that it supposedly pulled in players from Michigan, St. Louis, Atlanta to meet in one of the poorer areas in Canton and they met for this banquet in the neighborhood gymnasium the Northeast East Community Center. This was such a big deal that they even gave out a brand new car, to one of the leader’s own sons for selling the most tickets to this evening banquet.

Again – for a multimillion dollar organization they could have rented the Civic Center or something a little bigger where there would be enough seats for everyone. And how not legitimate is that – to give out a car to a son? Where no body really knows how many tickets he sold or whether the car really was new for him. It easy enough for him to be in on it.

I hope that I am wrong about all this, and at the other extreme I hope no one gets hurt. I really would like to believe that my friends are now a semi-professional basketball player but for now I feel like he just signed something away even he is not aware of yet.

*I make this disclaimer, though the chances are slim, this may not be a scam, and if I am in fact wrong, I will be happy to be so, I have written this post in hopes that if it is in fact foul play that no more people will be taken advantage of.

Here is further information I’ve have gathered:
Update 2
Update 3
Update 4
Update 5
Update 6
Update 7
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Wess

...is the William R. Rogers Director of Friends Center and Quaker Studies at Guilford College in Greensboro, NC., PhD in Intercultural Studies from Fuller Theological Seminary, served as a "released minister" at Camas Friends Church, and father of three. He enjoys sketchnoting, sharing conversation over coffee with a friend, listening to vinyl and writing creative nonfiction.