Community Hero honors firefighter leading girls’ basketball league

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – This is year 24 for firefighter James Banks leading the NIKE Indy Lady Gym Rats. Banks started coaching because he initially wanted to help his daughter and her friends learn how to play competitive basketball and earn scholarships.

Today, his daughter is now coaching at the college level,  and he’s still developing some of the best players in the nation.

This year his league has 250 young ladies across 28 teams consisting of 3rd through 12th graders who bring it every time they hit the court.

The drills during practice and the expectations during competition are high. Coach Banks says those lessons translate into slam dunks in life off the court too.

“The application you know for jobs. Things that we put them through on the court, stretching them to the limits where sometimes they feel like they can't do something but they can reach back and say man my coach was on me and I was able to overcome certain things that I feel like I could do,” Banks said.

Banks and his coaching staff are building a legacy. This is one of few NIKE sponsored leagues in the country, and the Indy Gym Rats have produced 7 McDonald’s  All American players out of this club.

Because of this success, parents are willing to drive their girls every week from as far away as Kentucky, Ohio, Michigan and Illinois for the Sunday practices.

Community Health Network and FOX59 are proud to honor Coach James Banks as the August 2017 Community Hero of the Month.