Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, Texas –
Service members from every branch of the U.S. military are competing for gold at the 2017 Armed Forces Basketball Championship from 1-7 November at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, Texas.
Teams are comprised of active duty, active National Guard, and active reserve service members serving in duty stations across the globe. Prior to the championship, players come together for a short period time during their respective Service training camp.
The players are not full time players, being committed to their military roles first and foremost. Despite that, the tournament is highly competitive and features players with college and even professional experience.
On the womenís side, six of the players in this tournament are returning from the 2016 USA Womenís team that took silver after losing to Brazil by a single point in the championship game during the Conseil International du Sports Militaire (CISM) World Military Championship.
"I didn't like the way that tasted, so I wanted to come back and represent the Army again and compete for another gold medal," said U.S. Army Sgt. Donita Adams, serving with the Maryland National Guard, one of the returning players. "As long as I can Iím going to keep doing it."
Her teammate, U.S. Army 2nd Lt. Kiana Doliveira, a signal platoon leader assigned to Fort Carson, Colo., is one of the new players on the team. Doliveira knew about the All-Army Basketball team prior to joining; a former high school rival, U.S. Army Specialist Kenyatta Sears, made it on the team and mentioned it on social media.
"It being my first year, itís a learning experience," said Doliveira. "You have to lean on the veterans, and just be ready every game because you don't know what to expect."
Another seasoned basketball veteran, U.S. Air Force Capt. Michael Lyons, a project manager assigned to Peterson Air Force Base, Colo., returned this year for a shot at gold. He represented the Air Force in 2013, 2014 and 2015, as well as The U.S. Armed Forces Men's team that competed at the CISM Military World Games in Mungyeong, South Korea.
"It's just a great experience," said Lyons. "I get to play with my other brothers in the service, some old teammates from the academy and some enlisted. It helps bridge that gap between officers and enlisted. It's great to come out here and compete with these guys."
The Armed Forces Championship is held annually and participants are selected to compete on the U.S. Armed Forces Men's Team that will play at Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe (SHAPE) International Basketball Tournament 26 November to 3 December, while the Women's team will participate at next CISM World Military Championship. Afterwards, all participants return to their parent commands at the conclusion of the games.