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Jonathan Bender launches National Solo Basketball League

The former Pacers player is combining hoops and UFC in his new professional one-on-one league.

Jonathon Bender #24

Former Pacers swingman, Jonathan Bender has developed a variety of ways to make big money off the court after his NBA career was cut short by injury. Now he's returning to the court and sinking some of that money into a venture that involves basketball.

Bender recently announced a new professional one-on-one basketball league called the National Solo Basketball Associations (NSBA). The idea is to follow a UFC model but instead of having combatants step inside the octagon, players will take the hardwood to battle for buckets.

“The mano-a-mano, skill vs. skill format will revolutionize the game,” predicts Bender.

The league will begin with Elimination events where players are divided into divisions and then battle for a cash prize and championship belt which they will then be able to take to bigger events against other belt holders. Here are the details explained by the NSBA:

Open to males 18-35, players compete in one of three divisions based on their size: Point Guard Division, II/III Hybrid Division or IV/V Hybrid Division. Each division’s duos will go one-on-one for four, six-minute quarters with the winners advancing through the bracket-style tournament. The final two players in each division earn a trip to the Main Event, and NSBA Main Event winners are awarded a Championship Belt; qualifying them to compete against other belt holders around the country. Modeled after the UFC, Bender’s goal is for players to be able to earn six-figures in one night.

The games do have a 15-second shot clock so players can't sit on a lead in the timed one-on-one games. Also, the Elimination entry costs $200 so players who think they have what it takes will have to put their money where their mouth is initially, which should also help cover the early prize money.

The first event, billed as a #SoloFlight Elimination Round will be in Indianapolis on June 3 and 4. If you think you have the game to hang, register at

Oh, and if you think this won't work, consider the massive success of The Basketball Tournament which started from similar humble beginnings and has become a huge summer event with television coverage and increasing prize money every year.