Sioux Falls Skyforce basketball marks 30 years

The Miami Heat G League team opens its season Friday at the Sanford Pentagon.

By: Charlie Schuknecht .

Los Angeles Defenders v Sioux Falls Skyforce at the Sanford Pentagon
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. — As the 2018-19 G League basketball season gets underway, all eyes are on one team. Looking to reclaim its 2016 championship title, the Sioux Falls Skyforce has put together one of its most accomplished teams yet. But the championship trophy isn’t the only thing twinkling in their eyes, the history books are there as well.

Founded in 1989, the Skyforce enters its 30th season, giving it the honor of being the longest running minor league basketball team in the United States. And while the players and coaches are proud of their accomplishment, they realize they couldn’t have done it alone.

Mike Heineman, co-owner of the Skyforce, recognizes that in a place like Sioux Falls, the community plays as large of an impact on the team as the players do.

“With all the history we’ve had in this town, how the city’s embraced us, whether it be season ticket holders, corporate sponsors or any fan that’s come to our games, they’ve all gotten us to this point,” he said.

Heat partnership

The Skyforce has come a long way since its inaugural season, and the decision to partner with the Miami Heat has helped shape it into the NBA-caliber team it is today.

“When I agreed to a two-way deal, obviously you have to do your homework on the G League team as well,” said former Michigan Wolverine Duncan Robinson. “It just felt like a great fit, just because of the track record guys have with success here.”

But the partnerships don’t stop with the NBA. Since moving into its new home at the Sanford Pentagon in 2013, the Skyforce has been given the royal treatment when it comes to sports science.

“It’s so beneficial,” said Bubu Palo, a former Iowa State Cyclone and Skyforce champion. “To have that total package, the basketball side and the nutrition and recovery side, is really something that’s truly beneficial to all of us.”

Sanford POWER is preparing for its 20th anniversary and has been with the Skyforce every step of the way.

“Sanford has done so much for us,” said Heineman. “Everything they do with POWER and nutrition and hydration and all the things like that, we’re so lucky to have that source of resources. They’ve helped us immensely.”

The Sioux Falls Skyforce opens its season opener on Friday, Nov. 2 at the Sanford Pentagon.

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