Joe Chapman and Travis Diener’s relationship consists of more than just playing on the Golden Eagles’ 2003 Final Four team and winning The Basketball Tournament in 2020. The two have now partnered with Steve Becker to build the Athlete Performance Sports Complex in Mequon, Wisconsin.
“We’ve been friends for over almost 20 years now,” Chapman said. “It’s just come full circle of coaching him, playing with him, becoming friends and now becoming businesses partners. It’s something we didn’t see coming, but we’re open to the opportunity of working together.”
The complex will be comprised of Becker’s business, Athlete Performance, Chapman Basketball Academy, Integrative Health & Wellness, FC Wisconsin and Overtime. Although the groundbreaking ceremony occurred Sept. 4, the plan is for the building to be ready by mid-March 2021.
“We just had this vision. There was nothing on this side of town as far as building-wise,” Chapman said. “We want to make sure we provide a service for people that live on the north shore area.”
Becker, who graduated with a degree in kinesiology and specialization in exercise physiology from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee in 2007, founded Athlete Performance LLC in 2010. His business is a sports performance company that works on strength and conditioning for young people and collegiate and professional athletes. Over the past few years, Becker’s business has trained five NBA draft picks.
Personally, Becker has also trained All-Star guards Mo Williams, Michael Redd and Andrew Bogut when he was the assistant strength and conditioning coach for the Milwaukee Bucks from 2006-08. He was a volunteer from 2006-09 at UW-Milwaukee, training the men’s and women’s Olympic teams.
In 2009-10 he became the assistant strength and conditioning coach for the Portland Trail Blazers. This is where he met Diener, a former Marquette guard.
“I met Steve 10 years ago and he was working with the Trail Blazers, and I was playing there,” Diener said. “I came back here every summer after playing professionally overseas and I got to know Steve going to Athlete Performance.”
While Becker and Diener have known each other for over a decade, Becker didn’t meet Chapman until about three years ago.
“He’s been such a big part of the (Amateur Athletic Union) basketball scene and it’s kind of a small community here,” Becker said. “I had an athlete I was training that said, ‘You have to meet this Joe Chapman.’ That was probably the best thing I ever did because the way that he talks to parents, his professionalism and the way he runs his program is right there in line with how I run mine.”
Diener said Becker always talked about wanting to build his own facility.
“I was like, ‘Whenever that comes to fruition, I would love to partner with you and try to give something to the kids that can help them develop and really grow as not just athletes, but people,” Diener said. “Steve’s done most of the work the last couple years. I’ve just kind of waited for the say so … The last couple months have been a whirlwind, but we’re happy to be here now.”
Becker said this complex has been in the works for six years.
“It has to have the proper pieces,” Becker said. “Being able to have guys like Joe do what he does within the complex, as well as my business, it’s kind of a combination that was able to make it happen.”
The hope is that this facility will provide an opportunity for kids. Chapman added that 60 AAU teams will be playing and practicing at the complex. Besides training, the facility will hold tournaments, 3-on-3’s and adult classes.
“This gives the parents a chance to drop them off, they can do their strength training, they can get (nutrition advice), they can go play basketball, soccer, volleyball,” Diener said. “It’s kind of like a one-stop shop for kids.”
Their initial desires include offering an opportunity to youth athletes to achieve goals they have in sports and teach life skills.
“It’s a great opportunity for young athletes, for collegiate athletes, for professional athletes to come in there and get better, and have fun doing it. Do it with people who care about you,” Diener said.
Chapman said both Diener and himself have similar work ethics and love for the sport of basketball that they want to share with kids.
“We thought that it was important to invest in something that would be here long after we’re gone,” Chapman said. “It’s important to have that safe haven for kids with a lot of outside distractions going on with the pandemic, social injustices and things of that nature going on … It’s always good to have a healthy distraction from the outside world and that’s what basketball is. We’re looking to make sure that the next generation can have that too.”
The purpose of the complex for Becker, Chapman and Diener is to give back to the community.
“They go play ball, they come back and they never lose their roots. It’s because guys like this — the hometown Milwaukee guys — who have really come back to give back,” Jim Blaise, president of Design2Construct, the construction company building the facility, said.
Though Becker didn’t go to Marquette, he’s been a huge fan, as his father went to the school.
“I watched these guys play all throughout their careers, so (to) have it come full circle is really cool.” Becker said.
With both Chapman and Diener residing in Mequon, which is around 15 minutes outside of Milwaukee, Diener said he hopes the connection with the university and its community remains strong.
“We represent Marquette,” Diener said. “The positive things we’re trying to do, the values, the things that we learned while going to school there, and we try to carry that on to this day.”
This story was written by Zoe Comerford. She can be reached at is[email protected] or on Twitter @zoe_comerford.