Maine Celtics president Dajuan Eubanks, on the Moose River in Rockwood.
Photograph by Isaac Crabtree
Last winter, Eubanks was voted NBA G League Team Executive of the Year by his peers, who cited the team’s 2019–2020 campaign (division winners), fan base (selling out 16 of 19 home games), and philanthropy (providing meals to essential workers during the pandemic).
on team prospects
“Until [last] season was canceled, I think we were on our way to a championship run.” The new season opened on November 5.
Other Favorite Place
Scarborough Beach State Park, where Eubanks bodysurfs. “There’s something about jumping in the ocean and letting the waves throw you around.”
As a member of the hotdogging Harlem Globetrotters basketball team in the mid-’90s, Dajuan Eubanks trotted the globe. Some of his best memories are of visiting the sun-soaked French Riviera and flying over the vertiginous peaks of the Andes Mountains. Maine left an impression too: “It was so cold,” recalls Eubanks, who grew up in Alabama and Texas. “I’ll never forget my first trip here, because we had to drive up to Canada next, and we got caught in a whiteout on I-95.” Nevertheless, it was Maine to which Eubanks returned in 2005, to live near the family of his then-wife, whom he’d met here on a Globetrotters trip.
Eubanks was working for an events-marketing firm when, in 2009, minor-league basketball’s Maine Red Claws formed in Portland. It was a matter of being in the right place at the right time, Eubanks says, and he’s been president of the club ever since. This season, the team has a new name, the Maine Celtics, after being purchased by its longtime NBA affiliate, the Boston Celtics. When Eubanks isn’t preoccupied with overseeing everything from ticket sales to community relations to game-day operations, he likes to grab his fly rod and head north.
A lifelong angler, he picked up fly-fishing some 20 years ago, while living in Wisconsin. “When I moved to Maine, fly-fishing opened up a whole nother side of the state to me,” he says. “There are some places here that are relatively untouched even by fishermen, and there’s nothing like being able to get into some of these remote ponds and streams that are full of native fish.”
Although those ponds and streams are freezing over this time of year, his thoughts still drift to the Rangeley area and the Carrabassett Valley, and a recent trip to Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument and the East Branch of the Penobscot River left fond memories too. It’s tough to pick a single favorite place to wet a line, he says, and he’s as loath as any fisherman to divulge a hidden gem, but one none-too-secret spot he loves is the scenic stretch of the Moose River between Brassua and Moosehead lakes, inhabited by landlocked salmon, lake trout, and a number of other species. “The whole Moosehead region stands out because of how phenomenally beautiful it is and all the access it has to different waterways,” he says. “Success isn’t always catching a fish, but it is always uncovering new spots.”