Daynese Stowe grew up playing basketball in West Philly, and went on to a Division 1 college team. But after a contract to go pro in Finland went sour, her hoop dreams faded away. Now, at age 28, the 6-foot-2 center sees hope in an unlikely source: Philly’s nascent Bikini Basketball team, the Philadelphia Diamonds. “This is kind of like a second chance, that’s how I look at it. For people who didn’t pursue it straight out of college or, like me, they pursued it and it didn’t go well,” Stowe said Saturday, as women hustled up and down the court for tryouts.
Al Trotter, a self-described “serial entrepreneur,” founded the franchise, part of a league that’ll soon be eight teams strong. Trotter is hoping to profit from the combination of titillation and athleticism that’s been a winning formula for Lingerie Football. “That’s the fastest-growing sport in world history,” he says. “You look at the WNBA, and you may as well be watching a bunch of men run up and down the court. Why hide their femininity?”
Trotter say he’s investing in the team and trying to secure a contract with Trenton’s Sun National Bank Center. Still, it may be an uphill battle. Saturday’s tryout, at Finley Rec Center in East Mount Airy, was the first time enough women had showed up to play five-on-five. And as Theresa Hamlett — aka Coach Tee — gently put it, “a couple of the women need to change their lifestyles.” Stowe herself says she has some crunches to do before appearing in uniform, which is a sports bra and short-shorts, not a bikini per se. But Hamlett has an open mind. “If they can get in shape between now and June, we’ll take them on.”