Toledo Threat Focuses on Basketball and Youth Mental Health

A group of basketball players.

If you thought the biggest threat in Toledo was the rising crime rate or the replacement of our precious 4-way stops with those pesky traffic circles, you’ve obviously never heard of Toledo Threat.

Founded in 2016 by owner Sandi Brown, Toledo Threat is a professional basketball organization and girls development program with a focus on youth mental health. They currently offer a variety of programs for grades K-12. But how did Threat – another of their monikers – come to be? Where did they start and what was their journey to become the biggest threat in Toledo?

Humble beginnings

Toledo Threat started out as nothing more than an idea. They were just a bunch of girls playing basketball who made the conscious choice to become more. And more, they became.

Toledo Threat logo

Naming themselves Toledo Threat to embody the strength and fierceness of women, they joined the WBDA in 2018 and went on to become league champions in 2019. This resulted in Toledo Mayor Wade Kapszukiewicz naming them the official women’s basketball team of Toledo. With their eye on playing at the Huntington Center, Toledo Threat hoped to become Glass City legends alongside the likes of the Mud Hens and the Walleye.

Then the pandemic hit.

Turning adversity into opportunity

When the Covid-19 pandemic hit, Toledo Threat was at its peak. They were in the middle of their biggest season when the shutdowns went into effect. With their games canceled for the foreseeable future, most teams would have folded. But where others saw adversity, owner Sandi Brown saw opportunity.

During the pandemic, Sandi transitioned Toledo Threat from a winning basketball team into a youth basketball league of its own. At its inception, they didn’t know how much of a need there was for a program like this in Toledo, but they were happy to be able to fill it. Coming down out of lockdown, Toledo Threat blossomed into a mental health resource for young players throughout the region.

In addition to teaching the fundamentals of basketball, they set out to change the community for the better.

Giving back

Since then, Toledo Threat has grown into a one-stop shop for all things basketball. With programs catered to all grade levels, the organization can develop players through all stages of youth basketball and beyond. But Toledo Threat is bigger than just basketball.

With their continued focus on mental health, they help their players develop mental fortitude, learn how to stay motivated – even in the face of adversity – and help them build self-confidence.

Whether it’s Bowsher High School in the fall, Leverette Elementary throughout winter and spring or DeVeaux Elementary over the summer, Threat’s close relationship with the Toledo Public School system (TPS) ensures they have somewhere to train all year round. In return, TPS students can join Threat programs for free. This is just one example of how Toledo Threat gives back to the community.

The future of Toledo Threat

A group of basketball players in a huddle.

The future is bright for Toledo Threat as they gear up for their yearly free summer program. In addition to teaching the fundamentals, the program includes a unique Speak Out class where students can express their feelings and take part in self-esteem building activities. New to 2024, the summer program will include a special program dedicated to kindergarten through first grade called Threat Academy. This free program, led by Threat league veterans, will teach the basics to early players.

With the current direction of society, Toledo Threat is more relevant than ever. And under the leadership of Sandi Brown, who fittingly said that one of her rules is to “Never give up,” Toledo Threat looks like it is going to continue be a valuable community resource to Toledo and the surrounding areas for years to come.

More information on Toledo Threat leagues, events and the summer programs can be found at