The Ken Athmann Story
2012 Basketball Challenge $10,000 Grand Prize Winner!
Ken Athmann has been playing the Basketball Challenge since 1995, and his passion for fantasy basketball really paid off for the 42 year old accountant from Shakopee, MN. For someone who had been playing for 18 years and never had a team finish higher than 32nd overall, finishing 1st, 2nd and 3rd in this year's Basketball Challenge was quite an achievement.

When asked what the difference was this year, Ken said "I played the way I always have, but I think the league competition helped. I always play to win the league first, and there were 3 really good teams (in the top 15) in my league. I was making changes to compete with them. After the All-Star break, I realized I could be in the running for the overall, and I started managing my teams to compete for the Grand Prize."

Key pick-ups for Ken included Ricky Rubio, Al Horford and Josh Smith. He kept the same players on all 3 teams, and when he took the lead with 3 weeks to go, he changed some of the players in the starting line-up to hedge his chances a little. "It was really exciting at the end" he said, "I was checking my cell phone constantly. I had some guys not playing, and I was hoping I could hang on."

Other key players for Ken were James Harden and Paul George, who he kept on his teams from the beginning. And, LaMarcus Aldridge had some big games down the stretch to help. "Probably one of the weekly moves that helped early was the week when I sat Anderson Varejao," he said. "Almost everyone had him in, but I was leery about keeping him in and didn't start him. As a general rule, if a guy doesn't play on Saturday or Sunday, I usually sit him the following week. And, that move turned out to be the right thing to do!"

Ken is looking forward to using some of his winnings to take his wife and two boys on a family vacation. "That will make my victory seem more meaningful," he remarked. His wife was really surprised when he told her he had won $13,750. "She knew I did this as a hobby, and she knew that I've been doing it for a long time," he exclaimed. "But, she had no idea how much money I had won."

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