Islington’s “Free Agents” hope to regain former dominance

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Every Wednesday night, a group of long-time friends, from both London and outer-areas of the capital, come together on the basketball court in an attempt to recapture their elite shape.

The Free Agents, a title which is normally given to an unsigned athlete, formed their team about three years ago, and since their joining, they have racked up a handful of first-prize awards for their performances.

However, since winning their most recent gold, the Free Agents took a six-month break because of personal responsibilities and commitments, an absence that  influenced negatively their chemistry on the court.

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The Free Agents have been playing basketball for three years. Picture taken by Ryan Fung.

 

“We haven’t played together in six months. This recreational league is just a way for us to get back in shape so that we are ready for the next level,” said Tim Newman, the co-captain of the team.

“We’ve known each other for quite a while, and it came to a point where we were all without a basketball team, we were all Free Agents. That’s how we came up with the name,” he added.

As they continue to make their way back towards their former days as basketball geniuses, the Free Agents have won all nine matches on their schedule, and next week, they’ll compete in the final game of the Islington Recreational League.

The team they face, the Bedlam Boys, have already lost to the Free Agents twice, and both of the matches were one-sided.

“We don’t really care about the competition at this point. All we are focused on is getting our feet wet and getting a good run in. When we feel comfortable enough to take the next step (higher level) we will make it,” said Bright Onuaku, a 27-year old from Sheffield who now lives in London.

Bright didn’t become part of the Free Agents until about two months ago, when performing a google search to join a basketball team, he stumbled upon an ad submitted by the team’s captains.

He said: “I used to play in University up in Kent, but I haven’t played in so long. It feels good to be back on the court…hopefully we can continue to get better and win something meaningful.”

On the team, there is also a Greek national, who used to play semi-pro back in his country but was forced to find work elsewhere due to the deterring economic downfall.

He now works in London and plays basketball whenever he gets some free time.

“I’m in the same position as the guys. We were all very good players but when you don’t play for a long time, or as much as you should, you get weak,” he said.

“Soon we will be part of a better league, with better competition. Then we will see how good we are, not now.”

Going into next week’s final, the Free Agents will not be entering the game with the mindset of winning another first-place, but rather with the mentality of what’s ahead.

Either way, there’s a 100% chance that the Free Agents will get another gold medal.

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