When basketball fanatic Aly Somani left Toronto to attend Columbia University and pursue a Masters in Education Leadership his love for basketball didn’t trail far behind as he earned a spot in the Career Development Department, working with professional athletes of the National Basketball Association.
It didn’t take long for Aly to find other likeminded individuals who shared a passion for basketball. Teaming up with NBA social media legend Peter Robert Casey, a trail-blazer in live-sport micro-blogging and die-hard basketball fan Nabeel Ahmad a Professor with Columbia’s Educational Technology program they developed an iPhone app targeting sports junkies. They wanted to monetize their passion by turning it into a product that would be appreciated by other fans. Recognizing the importance of mobile they created Junkie Status a mobile app for basketball junkies.
The game quizzes players’ on where their favourite pro basketball players attended school before they hit the big-time. The game has four categories to choose from: All-Stars, Rookies, International, and All Player and gives players’ 5-seconds to answer each question. As they successfully progress in the game their “sports junkie” avatar evolves from a beaten-down hospitalized sports fan to a basketball dribbling sports junkie. The game contains a social aspect allowing players to post their scores on Twitter and Facebook. One percent of the app sales will be donated to charity and is available on iTunes.
Though Junkie Status is still in its launch phase there is already consideration for an expansion of the application. With the fanaticism associated with die-hard NFL fans the next challenge they plan to tackle is the creation of a Sports Junkie edition for football fans.
A new Masters graduate of the program at Columbia University, Aly is far from abandoning the world of technology and basketball. Among other projects he is working on creating a business model for the long-term sustainability of professional athletes that includes a social element.