Kanye West’s Donda Academy basketball team is dropped from prestigious tournaments

A man in a black suit speaking into a microphone against a purple background
Kanye West’s Donda Academy basketball team has been dropped from at least one tournament in the aftermath of his antisemitic comments.
(Michael Wyke / Associated Press)

The wide-ranging fallout from Kanye West’s recent antisemitic comments has trickled down to Donda Academy, his K-12 prep school in the greater Los Angeles area with a boys’ basketball team boasting a roster of blue-chip recruits.

As showcases around the country drop Donda Academy from their schedules, the City of Palms Classic in Fort Myers, Fla., one of the most prestigious tournaments in the nation, replaced Donda Academy with The Patrick School (New Jersey) on Thursday. Also, Clippers guard John Wall said Donda Academy will no longer be part of his John Wall Holiday Invitational in December.

John Naylor, the City of Palms Classic executive director, told The Times that recent reports of Donda Academy shutting down for the year motivated the decision. One day earlier, Naylor had told The Times that the Classic would keep Donda Academy on its schedule, and they’d revisit the decision “if indeed [Donda] starts to fall apart.”


“We’re in the basketball business,” Naylor told The Times on Thursday. “They’re out.”

The Spalding Hoophall Classic and Play by Play Classic, other top showcases, also announced they’ve dropped Donda Academy from their events, debate has ignited over whether to continue supporting the players in the program or take a demonstrated stance against West’s comments.

Donnell Bratton, president of Minnesota Prep Academy, which is still scheduled to play Donda Academy in the Minnesota Timberwolves’ home arena Target Center Nov. 3, told the Times that “we believe youth should control their own narrative.”

Rams star Aaron Donald and Celtics guard Jaylen Brown have cut ties with Kanye West’s Donda Sports, denouncing his antisemitic comments.

Oct. 25, 2022

“I’m a little perturbed and just a little irritated with — these are kids,” Bratton said on other events dropping Donda. “I don’t have an issue with kids. These kids, these young people, should have an opportunity to play and not be canceled.”

“Ye has a battle and a war that he is tackling in him himself, but [players] Rob Dillingham, AJ Johnson, JJ Taylor, haven’t been involved to understand life yet … we just want to be a part of the journey of seeing kids like them succeed,” he continued.

Bratton said he’d heard and seen rumors of Donda Academy closing, but hadn’t heard anything from the school to indicate the game was off.

In a statement released on Twitter, meanwhile, Play by Play tournament organizers wrote that “Kanye’s words and actions violate our values as a company and a country.”


The founder, Jeremy Treatman, told The Times that organizers felt “terrible” for the players at Donda, but ultimately it was a necessary decision.

“I’ve been doing this 23 years … this is nothing anybody wants to be a part of,” Treatman said.

Companies from Balenciaga to CAA to Adidas have cut ties with Ye amid antisemitic tirades. Now his Donda Academy is closing until next school year.

Oct. 27, 2022

The Donda Academy was located in Simi Valley until recently moving to Chatsworth, according to the California secretary of state website. Students milled around the front of the industrial building at the school’s address Thursday afternoon, smiling and chatting before teachers and security personnel ushered them into the building. None of the students appeared to be varsity basketball players.

Even as prestigious tournaments make it clear the Donda basketball team is no longer welcome, support is gathering for the players and their predicament. Boston Celtics start Jaylen Brown, who severed his connections with Kanye and his business interests earlier this week, tweeted Friday that he would sponsor any event “existing or new” willing to host the Donda Academy basketball team.

The tweet ended with, “We must all ensure they complete their senior yr both academically & athletically. Contact me”

Issues with the team’s schedule surfaced 10 days ago. Santa Clarita West Ranch High coach Jeff Bryant said a game that would have served as a “homecoming” event for Donda Academy against West Ranch was canceled by Donda on Oct. 18, one day before it was scheduled to take place. Donda Academy doesn’t have a home gym.


Opened in 2021, Donda Academy assembled a roster of top players, three of whom are playing at the NCAA Division I level after high school. This season, the Donda Doves have two of the top three ranked players in California in the class of 2023 in Kentucky commit Robert Dillingham and AJ Johnson. Former NBA veteran Dorell Wright is in his first year as coach.

“Coach Wright is an unbelievable man,” Treatman said. “He completely understood [our decision], and we’re going to stay in touch.”

Omarion Bodrick, a senior on the team last season now attending a junior college in Florida, told The Times that playing for Donda Academy was “a once in a lifetime” experience. The team was showcased across the country and championed by “a different kind of figure” in West.

Players lived in apartments and took classes online for a couple hours each day, Bodrick said. Asked if he felt the academics prepared him for college, Bodrick responded, “I kinda feel like, not all the way, but it depends how you do your work. If you don’t apply yourself, you can really just go down there and do what you want.”

In a two-hour podcast interview with MIT research scientist Lex Fridman, West continued his run of hateful, antisemitic remarks.

Oct. 24, 2022

In addition to the City of Palms Classic, which tips off Dec. 18, Donda Academy is currently scheduled to play in the Shorty Classic in Minnesota on Nov. 3 and in a game at Morehouse College in Atlanta on Nov. 5.

“I definitely don’t feel like tournaments should block the kids,” Bodrick said.

On Tuesday, Rams All-Pro defensive tackle Aaron Donald and Boston Celtics All-Star forward Jaylen Brown announced they were parting ways with Donda Sports, a marketing and content agency owned by West.


Creative Artists Agency is the latest business to scrap or suspend its relationship with West over his remarks. Other leading entertainment industry figures, including Endeavor CEO Ari Emanuel, called on all companies that work with the musician to cut ties with him after West tweeted that he wanted to go “death con 3” on Jewish people. He has since apologized.

Adidas ended its nearly 10-year partnership with West that included the launch of the popular and lucrative Yeezy sneakers. The sportswear company said in a statement that the move would cost it $246 million in profit. Apparel company Balenciaga, which supplied the Donda Academy basketball uniforms, also cut ties with West.

Times staff writer Andrew Greif contributed to this story