Local hoops star looks to semi-pro team
by Roger Brigham
All season long, point guard Mike Survillion has been lighting up the San Francisco Gay Basketball Thursday night league at Eureka Valley Recreation Center. Now he's on the preseason roster of the San Francisco Rumble semipro basketball team with a good chance to sign with the team for the season later this month.
"We had 32 players and have cut down to about 17," Dee Minor, Rumble vice president of team operations, told the Bay Area Reporter this week. "Mike is one of the 17. At this point, no one has signed a contract. That wouldn't happen until after Thanksgiving."
Last spring, Survillion, 5-foot-8 and 160 pounds, played with the San Francisco Rockdogs while their team was filmed for the Logo TV miniseries Shirts and Skins and won the Sam Coady Classic in Chicago and provided voiceover narration for the series.
Minor said the Rumble, which plays in the Northwest Division of the American Basketball Association's Western Conference, will probably carry 14 players and have a team of 12 players who travel on the longer road trips. Home games are played at Kezar Pavilion.
"He's on the team and he's being looked at carefully," Minor said. "I find him to be a really nice young man, an excellent leaper, a team player, and a really gifted athlete. He can get up there with the big power forwards and sometimes the center."
"When we look at athletes, we don't ask about their sexual persuasion. We look at their athleticism. It is not about sexual persuasion. In basketball, it's about athletics. We're looking for the best semipro men's basketball team we can put on."
Survillion could not be reached for comment.
Longtime gay basketball icon Tony Jasinski said Survillion has been a sensation in the Thursday night league. "It seems likely that he'll be named MVP for the season, as he has dominated all of his games," Jasinski said. "Despite his advanced skills over everyone else, he has remained humble and friendly to everyone. I am definitely a fan.
"I particularly liked his 'everyman' role in the Shirts and Skins series. Not only was he an excellent voiceover/moderator, but he was also always sensible and comfortable. He set an example during that series that few people could match."
Minor said the ABA has a $120,000 salary cap per team.
"I doubt seriously if we get to that," she said. "But if you're a good player, you will make some money depending upon how well you play."
No out player has ever competed in the National Basketball Association, although John Amaechi of Great Britain came out after retiring from the league. If Survillion makes the Rumble roster, he will be the second out player to have competed on an ABA team, following Rockdogs teammate DeMarco Majors, who played for ABA's Hawaii franchise while training for the 2006 Gay Games.