Founder of The Crew League Eli Maroun spoke on the league’s inception, its major stars, and even his thoughts on the LA Clippers
View the original article to see embedded media.
On their official website, The Crew League defines itself as “a First-of-Its-Kind unscripted reality competition series where celebrities and their ‘crews’ face off against each other for bragging rights and a grand prize.” Growing in popularity over its first few seasons, in part due to the major star power its acquired, The Crew League was founded by Elie Maroun from New Jersey.
The Crew League airs weekly on Mondays at 10:00 PM EST, and is hosted by REVOLT, which is the leading Black-owned media company that creates rich content and original material with the biggest names in Hip Hop, along with reports of breaking news, current events, trends and announcements within the Black cultural movement and Hip Hop world.
Founded by Sean “Diddy” Combs in 2013, REVOLT attracts millennials and Gen Z audiences through their disruptive, authentic material across all platforms. The Crew League delivers REVOLT’s mission of creating meaningful content that shifts cultural norms and offers a fresh perspective.
In an exclusive interview, Maroun spoke on The Crew League’s inception, star power, and future vision. The 34-year-old founder also shared his optimism on the LA Clippers this season, saying he prefers to follow winners over one specific NBA team, and feels the Clippers will be amongst the league’s best winners this year.
From acquiring stars like 21 Savage to participate in this latest season of The Crew League, Maroun has seen it grown from a vision during a pickup basketball game, to a series now late into its fourth season.
When asked about this star power, especially in season four, Maroun said, “You saw the level of star power in season four, like no one’s ever been paid to participate in The Crew League… I’m blessed to naturally just have great relationships. I spent eight years with Puff. So everybody’s a degree of separation away, but we just built a brand that’s really dope, that people just really f-ck with.”
On his upbringing and how that played into his vision for The Crew League, Maroun said, “I use this example, I’m 34 years old. I grew up in Jersey, right outside of New York. And as I was growing up, people always told me about Rucker Park. I hear stories, Fat Joe brought out, you know, Metta World Peace. And what I realized was like, back then Fat Joe wasn’t Fat Joe, right? And Metta World Peace wasn’t Metta World Peace. So what I’m trying to do is replicate these moments that I think people love now and appreciate.”
With a vision to create memorable moments for different communities, Maroun is focused on an even bigger vision that expands beyond what The Crew League is already doing.
“We definitely have a plan to open up the philanthropy side of the business,” Maroun said. “Obviously the winners make a donation to their charities, all of which have been their own agendas that we’re not really all the way involved in.”
Maroun said it’s special when kids come up to him and talk about the show, because it means they’re engaging with something that has a positive message.
“Kids do love our platform,” Maroun said. “And if they’re watching, that means they’re not out doing crazy things. They’re actually participating. And I think our core message is something that kids can really relate to… The Crew League is not a celebrity basketball game. It’s a battle of crews and entourages and a level of allegiance.”
This allegiance is something that Maroun says is bigger than Chris Brown, 21 Savage, and other stars that have been on the show, because it creates the message that everybody needs their crew.
“It trickles down into the community and like that message that you’re nothing without the people around you, or you become who you surround yourself with is one that we really want to drive home,” Maroun said. “In many scenarios, like in different parts of the world, people go down the right path or the wrong path based on who they surround themselves with. So that’s something we want to drive home. I wish could say we’ve built 100 courts in underprivileged communities. We’re just not there yet. But we intend to for sure.”
On the league’s inception, Maroun told an incredible story about the time he and his friends were playing basketball at The Weeknd’s house during the peak of the pandemic. Since courts were primarily closed at the time, a small group of friends would meet up at The Weeknd’s house to play basketball. On one occasion, Maroun says he blocked The Weeknd’s shot into the neighbor’s yard. Understandably hyped, he celebrated the defensive play with his team, and received some funny looks from The Weeknd’s team.
“And then I look at his team, like his manager and the guys and they’re looking at me crazy. Because that’s The Weeknd, you don’t embarrass him on the basketball court at his own house,” Maroun said.
According to Maroun, this was his “eureka moment” that led him to believe the world would love to see moments like that. So far they have, but The Crew League is really just getting started.
“I fully intend on eventually pivoting into a basketball competition for country stars, or Latin pop stars, or pop stars, or females,” Maroun said. “And then in that same vein, fully intend on pivoting into a football competition for rap stars, or a soccer competition for Latin pop stars, right? So again, it’s very vague on purpose, the ultimate message is there’s a level of allegiance. It’s you and your crew competing, it can be in anything.”
Maroun continued on his vision, saying, “Ultimately what we plan to do is – I’m speaking 10 steps down the road, but have facilities in certain cities that make sense. And in these facilities, we’re keeping kids out of the streets or whatever it may be, and allowing them to really bring their friends with them and battle as crews, integrate celebrities and play different sports, because that’s the goal, right? Like we believe this is this is much bigger than basketball, the messaging is so important.”
Far Maroun, this isn’t just a vision, but something he and his team are already laying the groundwork for.
“We plan on getting there,” Maroun said. “We’re already talking to some of the biggest Latin stars in the world, some of the biggest Afro beat stars in the world, that I have a great relationship with, about doing a World Cup, a Crew League Soccer World Cup. So I’m really excited for for where the brand can go and what it can give back.”