OWNER OF THE HALIFAX RAINMEN
Levingston has taken an interesting path to become the president and majority owner of the Halifax Rainmen. He coached high school basketball in his hometown, Detroit, where he worked as a schoolteacher. Becoming an entrepreneur, he went into business for himself, which led him to Toronto, where he owned a restaurant and a car custom shop with Morris "Mo Pete" Peterson, who played for the Toronto Raptors at the time. Levingston was asked to help bring a basketball team to Mississauga, a deal that fell through, but the idea germinated in his head and blossomed when, through professional contacts, he heard that Halifax was primed to be a pro basketball town, leading him here to form The Rainmen.
The Coast: You've had a second season of basketball in Halifax, and in a new league (the Premier Basketball League). How did it go?
Andre Levingston: It was fantastic. It is a great league. Our attendance was up 60 percent this year. We've had some really great companies come on board to support us now, even to the point of making multiple year commitments with us, because of the stability of the league.
We're looking to do some wonderful things next year, to have some games televised, have some games live on the internet. We're looking to continue to build on the momentum right now.
TC: Now that the season is done, how does your summer look?
AL: We're laying out our summer plans now, with some basketball camps and some three-on-three tournaments. We're going to do some really good things this summer to stay visible and give back to the community. Doing some free camps for kids who normally couldn't afford to go to camp.
TC: So, a few of your players are still here in Halifax over the summer?
AL: Yes, Eric Crookshank, who is the face of our organization, is doing some great things in the community, and Tyrone McNeal, our big seven-foot kid, he's still here as well.
TC: Now that you've been here a little while, how do you find Halifax? It must be a big change culturally from Detroit, or even Toronto.
AL: The quality of life here is second to none, that's what stands out to me the most. People really appreciate and spend time with family. People take vacations and value their time off. In the big city we're so accustomed to hustling, everyone's chasing the dollar. When I landed in Halifax, for the first time in my life I really understood how tired I was. I found myself home, resting, at seven o'clock. I've never done that before.
I've met some really good people here. These are multi-millionaires. You don't get the opportunity in the States to sit down with Donald Trump or successful people at that level. Here, I sit down with the Mickey MacDonalds and the Rob Steeles and the David Dobbins. People are humble. That's really impressive, man. It really gives you a different take on how people value friendship. It's good to be around those guys and women, that are just ordinary folks. I'm in awe of that. Me coming from a place where you have to go through the chains or reach a certain level of success and mingle with a certain kind of person. Halifax is relationship driven, that's really special.
TC: This summer, do you have any plans?
AL: I've never been to the Tall Ships. I'm looking forward to visiting that. And there are a lot of concerts. I like Paul McCartney, maybe I'll take in that show. There are things I want to get involved with for charity. I lost my mom to cancer and there is a cancer walk.