Actor/comedian and Philadelphia native Kevin Hart isn’t afraid to talk a little trash and he’s found the perfect venue to do it as an owner of a Professional Bowlers Association League team. The PBA League makes its debut with a live telecast of the first round Sunday at noon ET on ESPN from Thunderbowl Lanes in suburban Detroit.
The popular stand-up comic and movie actor is the owner of the Philadelphia Hitmen PBA League team which features franchise player and four-time Tour winner Bill O’Neill of nearby Langhorne, Pa., 2010-11 PBA Player of the Year Mika Koivuniemi of Finland, two-time Tour winners Mike DeVaney, Murietta, Calif. and Dick Allen, Columbia, S.C., and supplemental pick Dino Castillo of Carrollton, Texas.
“This is a great team representing a great city,” Hart said. “The talent on this team is going to give me the opportunity to talk some trash because everyone knows I like to talk trash.”
Hart, an accomplished bowler for more than 10 years and who likes to take part in some occasional “action competition” has been a regular in recent years in NBA star Chris Paul’s Celebrity All-Star League charity event.
“I love the fun and competition that bowling offers,” Hart said. “I’ve always respected bowlers as athletes and having a team like this makes you realize how great these guys are and what it takes to compete at their level.”
Other teams and their owners making up the new PBA League are: NFL greats Jerome Bettis (Motown Muscle) and Terrell Owens (Dallas Strikers); NBA superstar Chris Paul (L.A. X); sports icon Billie Jean King (New York City WTT KingPins); Pittsburgh Steelers all-pro linebacker LaMarr Woodley (Pittsburgh Jack Rabbits), Grey’s Anatomy star Jesse Williams (Brooklyn Styles) and comedian Chris Hardwick (Silver Lake Atom Splitters).
“One thing about this group of owners is that we are all competitive and we want to promote how fun competitive bowling can be,” Hart added.
Hart has starred in more than 20 feature films and has done several Comedy Central TV specials including I'm a Grown Little Man, Seriously Funny and Laugh at My Pain. He has also been a host of the MTV Awards and BET Awards.
Four additional preliminary rounds of the PBA League will be taped during the Detroit Winter Swing Jan. 26 and 27 at Thunderbowl. The top four teams after the five PBA League preliminary rounds will advance to the PBA League Elias Cup Finals, named after PBA founder Eddie Elias, which will be contested at Woodland Bowl in Indianapolis on Sunday, March 31 for telecast on Sunday, April 7 at 1 p.m. ET on ESPN.
“I’m very happy with the makeup of the team,” O’Neill said. “There were a few guys I had high on my list who I didn’t think would be there in the draft but you’re not necessarily looking for the marquee guys but guys you know will work well in a team environment.”