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‘Team Trouble’ Makes Good on Stockton Court

STOCKTON -- Stockton has its very own professional basketball team -- Team Trouble.

Playing is their passion and Monday night they suited up in front of their hometown crowd.

"This is a basketball town," Team Trouble owner James Paul said. "It's always been a basketball town."

Paul decided to launch Team Trouble last fall, having come up with the idea while shooting hoops at his Stockton produce business.

"We came up with the idea. It was spur of the moment. He came out of the office. I got off the forklift. He said, 'Hey fool! I just purchased a team,'" point guard Aaron Stallworth said.

Next came tryouts. Paul says out of about 100 prospects, 18 made the roster.

"We had a lot of guys come out. Primarily a lot of local guys. And we basically just pulled the local talent and created this really, really good team," Coach George Hernandez said.

Every player on the team has ties to Stockton. Many of them have some experience playing at the college or professional level.

"I played 10 years overseas. I played two years in Poland. I played all through mid and northeast Africa," point guard Jayson Obazuaye said.

Now, many of them see Team Trouble as a second chance.

"I've been out so long, so I'm going to take advantage of this and everything that I took for granted, I'm never going to take for granted again," Stallworth said.

That kind of attitude has Team Trouble ranked seventh in the nation -- out of about 120 other American Basketball Association teams -- in just four months of being a team.

"I think right now we're probably the hottest team on the West Coast right now in the ABA," Hernandez said.

The players make it clear, though, that their success comes second to their impact on the community.

"I just want to see the kids, the special needs people. That's who I want to see filling the stands. That's who we're playing for: The kids," Stallworth said. "The future of Stockton."

That's why Team Trouble offers free tickets to all home games.

"We wanted to make sure that we reached out to everybody. Whether or not you have the money to afford to come and watch professional sports or you don't," Paul said. "We wanted to make sure that it was accessible to all parts of the community."