By Marian Nimoh
The Camden Monarchs is a men’s basketball organization composed of players who are 18 years of age and older with amazing talents who come together as one to bring forth the foundation of family and support that the city of Camden needs. Founded by Giovonni Thompson, the Camden Monarchs was established through a partner that Thompson knew in the American Basketball Association (ABA). “My partner had the opportunity to work with the ABA. My team is a team in the ABA and after working with them it came up for us to be able to acquire a franchise in the ABA and we just went for it and my partner asked me what city I wanted to take it to and I immediately said Camden,” says Thompson. Her knowledge of the rich history of the city also played a role in her choice, including the fact that her family is from there – her dad, brothers and uncles have all played basketball in Camden.
Thompson, who currently resides in Philadelphia, started off in fashion and later switched to music and entertainment, which she worked in for twelve years. She always had a passion for sports and decided to start the Camden Monarchs in 2019. The team’s name came about because of its location in Camden, New Jersey. Due to the city’s crime rate, Thompson wanted to shed a brighter light on the city and call it Monarch, which means king. “I wanted something that would represent the city in a positive way,” says Thompson.
When it comes to personal commitment, Thompson believes that loyalty and consistency are key to seeing things through with a commitment to whatever the goal is. These values are reflected in her team. Her main goal for the city of Camden is to be a part of its revitalization by creating an organization that the city can be proud of and that kids can look up to. “I want to make sure that the Camden Monarchs are at the forefront of change, which includes bringing back the foundation of family… I’m really big on being a strong presence for these kids and want to be instrumental in educating them,” Thompson says.
The young players are not just there to play basketball; there are also benefits that they receive in joining the organization. They have the opportunity to participate in celebrity basketball games as well as block parties through its partnership with the Salvation Army. There is also an internship program, where the players are educated on sports nutrition and the marketing side of sports management. Other benefits include community events, free basketball clinics, and the general junior manager position where a young player has the opportunity to shadow the general manager and experience the role that the CEO of the organization plays.
Apart from being the founder of the Camden Monarchs, Thompson is CEO of GioGlobal Management, a brand management and marketing firm which has been around for five years. GioGlobal’s focus is on brand strategy. The firm helps to connect brands with their audience and consumers by being a consulting ear and voice, whether it’s for an artist or an athlete starting a business outside the court. Thompson is also the founder of Love & Basketball Tea, an annual free event held in different cities where she partners with NBA moms who take the time to hang out and empower young girls.