Upside Collective film tells the story of the Patroons’ decade of success in the Capital Region
Proceeds from premiere and pre-show reception featuring former NBA coach George Karl will benefit Siena Athletics and the Capital District YMCA
ALBANY, New York; – Capital Region sports fans are invited to attend the premiere of the new Albany Patroons documentary “The Minor League Mecca” at the historic Palace Theatre in downtown Albany on Saturday, September 22 at 7:30 p.m.
The debut screening is free to the public with a suggested $5 donation to benefit Siena College Athletics.
The documentary, which was produced by the local marketing firm Upside Collective, details the history and success of the original Albany Patroons of the Continental Basketball Association from 1982 to 1992, an era which represented the pinnacle of professional basketball in the Capital Region. The documentary will feature footage and exclusive interviews with former Patroons coaches and players including Phil Jackson, George Karl, Rick Carlisle and Scott Brooks, who each went on to achieve fame and success as head coaches in the National Basketball Association.
“The Albany Patroons was a launching place for my coaching career,” Jackson said who won his first of many championship rings when he guided the Patroons to the 1984 CBA championship and would later go on to win NBA titles with the Chicago Bulls and Los Angeles Lakers. “We had some championship runs and really good times in the old Armory. The premiere of The Minor League Mecca should be a fun time to revisit those years of the Albany Patroons.”
“The Minor League Mecca will take the audience on a journey chronicling the untold story of the quick rise and success of the Patroons and the team’s legacy, which continues to shape the world of professional basketball,” said Upside Collective President Brendan Casey. “As the leading franchise in the Continental Basketball Association, the Albany Patroons left an indelible mark on the city of Albany, the CBA and the NBA. We are excited to give the community an inside look into the success of one of the greatest franchises to ever play in the Capital Region.”
Former NBA head coach George Karl, who led the Albany Patroons in 1989 and 1991, will be the honorary guest at a pre-event VIP reception and post-screening question and answer session with the public.
“We are thrilled to welcome Coach Karl back to the Capital Region and we look forward to hosting him as our honorary guest,” Casey said. “Coach Karl took his success with the Patroons to an elite level and went on to become one of the few head coaches in NBA history to have won over 1,000 games. We are honored he will be joining us to celebrate the premiere of ‘The Minor League Mecca’ and his success in this community.”
A VIP pre-show reception to benefit the Capital District YMCA will be held from 5:30 to 7 p.m. and will include a meet and greet with Coach Karl and other former Patroons’ notables.
The pre-show reception will include a photo station, exclusive behind-the-scenes photos and interviews, hors d’oeuvres and an open bar. Tickets to the pre-show reception are $125 per person and include VIP seating for the movie premiere.
“The original Albany Patroons experienced tremendous success while serving as the marquee basketball franchise in downtown Albany and we are excited to celebrate their rich history with sports fans in the Capital Region,” said David Brown, president and CEO of the Capital District YMCA. “The pre-show reception is an opportunity for fans to commemorate one of the greatest professional teams in Albany sports history. The Capital District YMCA is honored to be the beneficiary of the reception and we look forward to celebrating at the Palace Theatre.”
The original Albany Patroons launched the careers of elite coaches including Jackson, Karl, Carlisle, Brooks and Bill Musselman. The team during this period also featured several standout players including Michael Ray Richardson, Mario Elie, Tony Campbell and Sidney Lowe, among others.
The Patroons entered the CBA as an expansion franchise in the 1982–83 season and quickly captured their first league championship in 1984.
In 1988, the Patroons won a second championship, this time under Bill Musselman who would later coach the Minnesota Timberwolves. Despite eventually coaching at the highest level, Musselman’s son said his father’s experience in Albany was always a standout moment during his extensive career.
“My dad always felt his time in Albany was the most fun and rewarding time he’d ever had coaching,” said Eric Musselman, men’s basketball head coach at the University of Nevada. “He truly believed that the Patroons would go undefeated that year and to this day that is probably the greatest minor league team in the history of the league. That team would have found a way to beat two or three NBA teams.”
The concept for the documentary started as a passion project for Casey, who grew up as an avid fan of basketball while attending Patroons and Siena games with his father.
Casey began production of the film in May 2015, working to document the history of the original Albany Patroons with locals who were associated with the franchise during its decade of success.
Before long this labor of love mushroomed into a full-scale documentary including some of the biggest names in Patroons’ history such as Jackson, Karl, Carlisle, Brooks and many others who each told the story of how a hardwood court within the Washington Avenue Armory allowed them to reach new heights in their professional careers.
“It was crazy to me that this story had never been documented,” Casey said. “These guys are legendary coaches and huge personalities but at the end of the day all of them shared great memories about the city of Albany and what this franchise allowed them to accomplish. This was a moment in minor league sports that could never be replicated.”
For more information about the film, screening and pre-show VIP reception, visit www.theminorleaguemecca.com.
About Upside Collective
Upside Collective is a versatile design and marketing firm located in Albany, NY. With focus on graphic design, web development, motion graphics and video. For more information, please visit www.upsidecollective.com.