Josh Langford’s goal as a member of the professional North Alabama War Dawgs is no different from most players on the roster — extending his basketball career.
But he’s also taking on another mission while playing for the War Dawgs during their inaugural season in the American Basketball Association.
“I want to give back to the community,’’ he said as the team unveiled orange-and-black home and road uniforms last month on the eve of their first home game.
At the age of 27, the window for Langford to climb the hoops ladder will soon close. Giving back, however, is ageless. When not practicing or playing in games, he makes a living as a personal trainer at Monrovia Community Center.
Langford lives in Huntsville, his hometown, not far from North Alabama’s home gym at Jemison High School.
He wants to build his business to create what he calls “generational wealth’’ so he can provide for his son, 4-year old Landon Amir Langford. But that’s just part of his grand plan. He also gives free training sessions.
“The training is also to give back,’’ he said. “I want these kids to stay out of trouble. There’s some crazy stuff going on, especially in our community.
“If I can get as many people as I can to come together in peace, I believe we can have a better community and clean it up a little bit.’’
Langford, who played for the ABA’s Muskogee (Mich.) team, said the key for ABA players to get recognized is for the team to advance. The league has some 150 teams that play in regions with conference play and the postseason designed to give players on winning teams a chance to receive more exposure to scouts in higher levels.
“It depends on the guys and what their goals are,’’ he said. “The group of guys on this team are hungry. They go hard.’’
Langford’s hoops career has been uneven.
He was a highly coveted 6-7 senior forward while leading Lee High to a 2009-10 state championship. He originally committed to Louisville, but signed with Auburn where he played in all 31 games and started 12 as a freshman. His sophomore season was marred by a suspension and a concussion.
The Tigers coach at the time, Tony Barbee, dismissed Langford from the team prior to his junior season for an undisclosed violation of team rules. He then transferred to Southeast Missouri State where he played his final two seasons.
After recovering from a disc injury received in a train wreck while traveling with his Michigan team, he got two invites to G-League tryouts. He didn’t make it, and before joining the War Dawgs, he played in the ABA and with the defunct Huntsville Force.
He’s now determined to be a positive influence, something ABA teams stress.
“I’d like to stop the violence as much as I can,’’ he said. “I’m not God, but I’ve got God in me.’’
The War Dawgs host the Jackson Showboats on Saturday; tipoff is 7:15 p.m. at Jemison High School. Tickets cost $10 in advance and $15 at the door. Tickets for students and military personnel are $5. Visit wardawgsbball.com.