Pro Football Hall of Famer Ray Lewis is entering a new sports arena.
The 13-time Pro Bowler and two-time Super Bowl champion is joining the World Jai-Alai League’s board of directors, a news release said.
The World Jai-Alai League is the only professional American league for the sport, which got its origins roughly 400 years ago.
“I’m excited to join WJAL on the ground floor and help spread the word about this fast-growing sport,” Lewis said in the news release. “These are incredible athletes playing a uniquely challenging game, and Scott Savin and his team are building something special. I look forward to getting to Miami soon to check out these athletes in-person.”
The WJAL bills jai-alai as the world’s fastest ball sport, and its league headquarters iw based in Miami.
“We couldn’t be happier to welcome Ray to our board of directors. This is a big day for the growth of our league,” said Scott Savin, chief operating officer of the World Jai-Alai League, in a news release. “Ray’s stature, experience, and insights will increase overall awareness of jai-alai, which is already growing exponentially. Ray will be a motivating force, not just for our athletes, but for all of us.”
Lewis, a former University of Miami star, retired from the NFL after a 17-year career with the Baltimore Ravens. In addition to his football accolades, he’s also the host of “The Ray Lewis Show.”
Jai-Alai, meanwhile, is a sport with origins dating back 400 years in Spain’s Basque province, the news release said.
“It has been played competitively in the United States for almost a century,” the news release said. “Players use a basket-style racket called a cesta to launch and catch a ball which often travels at speeds exceeding 150 (mph). The five-team league features the top players in the world including several former University of Miami athletes. They join an international array of talent from Spain, France, Mexico, and the Philippines.”
Lewis joins a six-person board of directors that includes Joey Cornblit, the first American-born player to achieve world championship status, and Leon Shepard, affectionately known as “Tevin” during his reign as a retired U.S. Jai-Alai champion.
The WJAL streams all matches, which occur Mondays, Tuesdays and Fridays, live on ESPN3 from the Magic City Fronton in Miami.
WJAL’s spring season games are open to the public on Fridays at 7 p.m. through May 12.
This story was originally published March 7, 2023, 3:26 PM.