The Chosen League was an exception. Started in 2002 by Rahim Thompson, the league invites top high school players around the region to play where it all started — in the park. For the past 15 years, games were played at 10th and Olney at Cherashore Playground.
For many, the league represented a rare chance to play highly competitive organized basketball on concrete.
All games have now been moved to the FiDonce gym on G Street. They run in the far end of FiDonce on the second court, simultaneously with a pro-am league that plays on the first court — a league that’s packed with Chosen alumni, as well as NBA players like 2018 MVP James Harden.
It has corporate sponsors such as Nike, Mitchell & Ness, Kicks USA and Red Bull to name a few. It has also breeded plenty of talent in all of the ranks such as NBA players Kyle Lowry (Toronto Raptors), Marcus Morris (Phoenix Suns), Markieff Morris (Phoenix Suns), Gerald Henderson (Charlotte Hornets), Wayne Ellington (Los Angeles Lakers), JaKarr Sampson (Philadelphia 76ers) and Dion Waiters (Oklahoma City Thunder). The Chosen League’s college alumni is even better with players such as Amile Jefferson (Duke), Ja’Quan Newton (Miami), Savon Goodman (Arizona State), Markus Kennedy (SMU) and Kyle Kuzma (Utah).
In 2014, ESPN featured the Chosen League as one of the best outdoor leagues in the country, and it was also featured in NBA LIve ‘18 — because of the way it connected to the culture of basketball, and not just the professional aspect.
The Chosen League Story
What inspired Rahim Thompson to start The Chosen League?
After the 1996 Olympics, Rahim had the idea of starting a magazine. At the same time, he also realized that it would be hard. His godmother, Gro Mambo Angela Novanyon Idizol, told him that he needed to start a basketball league. In 2002, he followed her advice and decided to start a league. The recreation director, Jerry Gaul, was first reluctant to allow it because he thought it was an adult’s league. Then when he realized Rahim was starting a high school league, he was okay with it. And then that’s when everything started.
Why was the tournament named the Chosen League?
when Rahim & my brothers grew up, they went through a rites of passage at the sanctuary, LePeristyle Haitian Sanctuary. So when Rahim started the league, he decided that teams and players would have to be chosen to compete.
What is the Mission for the Chosen League?
To showcase the best players in the Philadelphia area and the tri-state area. And also bringing positivity to the community. Also, a lot of major talent that has come out of the area in the last 14 years has played in the NBA.
What makes The Chosen League unique?
The Chosen League is ranked the best summer league in the country. The Chosen League is the only high school league in the country that is sponsored. The competition is intense. The Chosen League initially started near near row houses, where people from all over the city came to watch the best talent in Philadelphia. The format is different than most because every game is like a playoff game.
How many kids that have played in this event have gone on to college?
We have played 142 kids that have played on the Division I level. In the 14-year history of the league, we have 1,300 kids go to college, either on athletic scholarships or academic merits.
What is the future of The Chosen League?
The Chosen League is getting bigger and better. Eventually, there may be a pro-am. The goal is to be partners of an NBA franchise. In the words of Rahim Thompson,"It’s not always what you know, but it’s also who you know along with what you know. I couldn’t have done this without support team such as Richard Gilliam and Michael Alexander, they have helped out a lot since the beginning. The sky is the limit for our tournament. And then there is Keith Fletcher, he’s a junior at Rosemont College. We’re grooming him so that one day, he can run the Chosen League. All in all, the sky is the limit for the Chosen League".