American Basketball Association (2000–present)
|Motto||"More than just a game"|
|No. of teams||68|
|Most recent champion(s)||Shreveport-Bossier Mavericks (2013-14)|
|Most titles||Shreveport-Bossier Mavericks (3)|
The American Basketball Association (ABA) is an American semi-professional men's basketball league that was founded in 1999. The current ABA has no affiliation with the original American Basketball Association that merged with the National Basketball Association (NBA) in 1976.
- 1 History
- 2 Current clubs
- 3 Defunct teams
- 4 Championship Game results
- 5 All-Star Game results
- 6 Awards
- 7 Anti-Bully Program
- 8 See also
- 9 References
- 10 External links
The league first began play in 2000 with eight teams. During this time, the league focused mainly on teams in larger cities. To attract fans, the ABA had rosters with former NBA players and past college basketball stars with local ties.
The league suspended operations during the 2002–03 season for reorganization. After returning one season to help rebuild, the league's focus was changed from having a few teams in large cities to many teams in large and medium cities, set up in regional groups. This was due in part to lowering the franchise fees down to $10,000 from $50,000 and not requiring a bond to start a team. This reduced operating cost has allowed several cities to get into the league that otherwise would not have; however, it also resulted in several ownership groups being severely underfinanced. Over the last decade, this has resulted in the creation of a large number of new teams but several of them have failed to complete even their inaugural season.
The 2004–05 season was the first under this new format, with 37 teams playing that season. Each season, the number of teams grew, with both successful teams and teams that didn't complete the season. At times, the ABA had 50+ teams playing in a season. Some stories of successful expansion franchises were the Arkansas RimRockers in 2004 and the Rochester Razorsharks in 2005. Each won an ABA title in the team's first season in the league.
The 2006–07 season saw the cost for a new expansion franchise raised to $20,000, but many still sold for $5,000 - $10,000 and less, in some cases going as low as $1. One notable 2006–07 expansion franchise was the Vermont Frost Heaves, owned by Sports Illustrated writer Alexander Wolff. Also in 2006-07, former NBA player John Salley was named league commissioner, and Maryland Nighthawks owner Tom Doyle was named chief operating officer.
Following the league's first public offering in 2006, it was reported that Joe Newman was voted out of his position as league CEO. A form filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission in February 2007 claimed the ABA Board of Directors removed Newman as league CEO on January 31, 2007. It went on to state that Newman's actions as league CEO would be reviewed to ensure that they were performed with the Board's permission. The same filing also claimed that Newman and other shareholders plotted to remove Tom Doyle, John Salley, and David Howitt from the Board and elect Paul Riley as its director. Newman denied his removal ever occurred, and continued as acting CEO. The lawsuits were settled in March 2007 with Doyle's and Salley's resignations from the league Board of Directors.
The 2006–07 season saw many franchises fail to travel to road games or play a full schedule. When a weather problem required a postponement of a playoff game between the defending champion Rochester Razorsharks and the Wilmington Sea Dawgs, instead of letting the two teams reschedule, the league wanted to force Rochester to forfeit. Rochester instead withdrew from the league. This incident, coupled with the CEO v. COO intrigue, caused to some league owners to become frustrated with the instability of the league and separate to form the Premier Basketball League (PBL).
The 2007–08 season saw nearly twenty teams fold within its first five weeks, and several remaining teams left the ABA to join other existing leagues. According to Our Sports Central, only around 35% of the games were actually played in the 2007–08 season. The teams that played the highest percentage of games were Vermont, the Manchester (NH) Millrats, and the Quebec Kebs. Those three teams would leave to join the PBL at the conclusion of the season. Another team that only played home games was Beijing Aoshen Olympians. This team was kicked out of the Chinese Basketball League and played home games in Singapore. Beijing would pay $3000 and fly teams to Singapore for a 2-game homestand. Early teams complained on Our Sports Central that they were forced to stay in a hotel that doubled as a brothel. Joe Newman CEO forced Beijing to find a new hotel on hearing this news. Later teams stayed in a Holiday Inn.
The league's most successful franchise by attendance, the Halifax Rainmen, left the ABA, citing frustration with teams not showing up for games, as well as a biased ranking system. Numerous sportswriters essentially referred to the ABA as a joke, and not to be taken seriously.
The 2009–10 season was scheduled to have over 50 teams. The season ended with several teams folding, starting in early December, including the entire northwest division. The league playoffs also had several games cancelled due to teams unable to afford travel, including a semi-final playoff game. The playoffs ended with Southeast Texas Mustangs defeating Kentucky Bisons in a three game series.
On April 25, 2010 as part of their ABA Global initiative, the ABA hosted the 2010 ABA Friendship Games, where the Philippine National Basketball Team competed against teams from the ABA.
The 2010–11 season was expected to field over 60 teams. It was also announced that a new Canadian Division would be formed in 2010. A team based out of Toronto was to join the ABA prior to a formation of the Canadian Division when more Canadian teams were to have been formed. In the summer the league announced the first Haitian pro-basketball team, Haitian Relief. The league planned to host over 800 games combined amongst the teams.
In the end though, it was the same as previous seasons, with many teams disappearing both before and during the season. Rather than fielding over 60 teams, in fact fewer than 50 full-time teams actually played games. The 2011 ABA All-Star Game resulted in a 123-122 Eastern conference win over the West, in front of a crowd of 4,488 at the Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena in Jacksonville, Florida. The playoffs started the next weekend, with the last four teams playing a double elimination tournament at the home of Southeast Texas Mavericks, who won their second ABA title two games to none over the Gulf Coast Flash.
Despite the ongoing instability, the league announced plans to form the Women's American Basketball Association (WABA), unrelated to the original Women's American Basketball Association, a league which existed for one season in 2002. The new league's first squad was to be located in Greenville, North Carolina.
After the unsuccessful attempt to launch the WABA in the 2011–12 season, the league announced it would re-launch it during the 2012–13 season. This failed to occur and currently the league is set to begin play in 2014 with nine teams: the Philly Love, New Jersey Express, New England Stormers, Hampton Roads Lightning, Lake City Kingdom Riderettes, Fayetteville Lady Cadets, Columbus Lady Road Runners, McAllen Queens and Chicago Lady Steam.
Gulf Coast Division
Northern California Division
|Bay Area Matrix||San Francisco, California|
|Central Valley Titans||Exeter, California||Exeter Union High School|
|San Francisco Rumble||San Francisco, California||Joseph Lee Rec Center|
North Central Division
|Bronx Holy Flames||Bronx, New York|
|Brooklyn SkyRockets||Brooklyn, New York|
|Jersey Express||Jersey City, New Jersey|
|Philadelphia Spirit||Burlington, New Jersey|
|Providence Sky Chiefs||Pawtucket, Rhode Island||Rhode Island College (2,000)|
|Staten Island Vipers||Staten Island, New York||Port Richmond High School (2,000)|
|Steel City Yellow Jackets||Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania||CCAC Allegheny Campus (2,000)|
Pacific Northwest Division
|Calgary Crush||Calgary, Alberta||SAIT Polytechnic|
|Kitsap Admirals||Bremerton, Washington|
|Lakewood Panthers||Lakewood, Washington|
|Seattle Mountaineers||Seattle, Washington||Green River Community College|
|Vancouver Balloholics||Vancouver, British Columbia||Langley Event Centre Centre Gymnasium (2,200)|
Southern California Division
|Am-Mex Swarm||Piedras Negras, Mexico||Auditorio Santiago V. Gonzales|
|Austin Boom||Austin, Texas|
|Baytown Bandits||Baytown, Texas|
|Sugar Land Legends||Sugar Land, Texas||Wheeler Fieldhouse|
|Texarkana Panthers||Waldo, Arkansas|
|Texas Fuel||San Antonio, Texas|
|West Texas Whirlwinds||Midland, Texas|
|Colorado Kings||Denver, Colorado||Travel-only|
|Missouri Rhythm||Raytown, Missouri||The ROC Fitness & Recreation|
|Metroplex Lightning||Dallas, Texas|
|Shizuoka Gymrats||Shizuoka, Japan|
The ABA method of handing franchises to anybody who is willing to pay the ABA franchise fee, with no consideration to whether the person(s) can afford it or not, resulted in over 200 folded franchises as of the beginning of the 2008 season. As of summer 2014, the number was over 350.
Championship Game results
All-Star Game results
- 2002 ABA All-Star Game - Kansas City Knights defeated ABA All-Stars, 161-138 (Kemper Arena)
- 2005 ABA All-Star Game - West defeated East, 163-149 (Las Vegas Sports Center)
- 2006 ABA All-Star Game - East defeated West, 129-127 (BankAtlantic Center)
- 2007 ABA All-Star Game - West defeated East, 138-123 (Halifax Metro Centre)
- 2008 ABA All-Star Game - East defeated West, 161-140 (Barre Auditorium)
- 2011 ABA All-Star Game - East defeated West, 123-122 (Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena)
- 2013 ABA All-Star Game - East defeated West, 198-141 (South Suburban College)
Player of the Year
- 2001–02 - Pete Mickeal, Kansas City Knights
- 2003–04 - Joe Crispin, Kansas City Knights
- 2004–05 - Kareem Reid, Arkansas RimRockers
- 2005–06 - Chris Carrawell, Rochester Razorsharks
- 2006–07 - James Marrow
- 2008–09 - DeRon Rutledge, Southeast Texas Mavericks
Coach of the Year
- 2003–04 - Earl Cureton, Long Beach Jam
- 2004–05 - Rick Turner, Bellevue Blackhawks
- 2005–06 - Rod Baker, Rochester Razorsharks
- 2006–07 - Will Voigt, Vermont Frost Heaves
- 2007–08 - Will Voigt, Vermont Frost Heaves
- 2008–09 - Otis Key, Kentucky Bisons
Executive of the Year
- 2003–04 - Rafael Fitzmaurice, Juarez Gallos
- 2004–05 - Michael Tuckman, Bellevue Blackhawks
- 2005–06 - Orest Hrywnak, Rochester Razorsharks
- 2006–07 - Felix Krupczynski, Jacksonville JAM
- 2008–09 - Jay Sills, Kentucky Bisons
MVP - Championship Game
- 2000–01 - Gee Gervin and Ndongo N'Diaye, Detroit Dogs
- 2001–02 - Pete Mickeal, Kansas City Knights
- 2004–05 - Kareem Reid, Arkansas RimRockers
- 2005–06 - Chris Carrawell, Rochester Razorsharks
- 2008–09 - Michael James, Kentucky Bisons
- 2011–12 - Jermaine Bell, Jacksonville Giants
MVP - All-Star Game
- 2001–02 - Maurice Carter, Kansas City Knights
- 2004–05 - Lou Kelly, West
- 2005–06 - Armen Gilliam, East
- 2006–07 - Billy Knight, West
- 2007–08 - Anthony Anderson, East
- 2012–13 - Maurice Mickens, East
- 2006–07 - Modie Cox, Buffalo Silverbacks
Former CEO Joe Newman started Bully-Free ABA! after his grandchildren became victims of bullying. The program features players visiting schools to share stories about their own experiences with bullying and how such issues can be solved.
Team coaches are involved as well, in 2012, Kitsap Admirals coach Chris Koebelin was an active leader in the program. Koebelin mentioned to the students during his visits that he was bullied as a child. Following the visits, time is usually allowed for the students to interact with the team on the court.
- Wolff, Alexander (2005-12-14), "Jumping into the ABA with the Vermont Frost Heaves", Sports Illustrated, retrieved 2010-08-17
- Stephens, Eric (December 27, 2000). "Stars Shine in ABA Debut Before 5,347". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved July 17, 2011.
- Rovell, Darren (August 20, 2000). "ABA 2000 plays the name game". ESPN.com. Retrieved July 17, 2011.
- Iverson's mom has own ABA team, Associated Press, 2006-08-25, retrieved 2010-08-17
- Ruben, Mike (2009-01-15), Housing Authority Brings Pro Basketball to State, State Journal, retrieved 2010-08-17
- Becker, Michael (2006-07-26), "Firing Away at the ABA", Los Angeles Times, retrieved 2010-08-17
- Board of Directors of American Basketball Association, Inc. Votes to Remove CEO - OurSports Central - Independent and Minor League Sports News. OurSports Central (2007-02-05). Retrieved on 2014-04-12.
- [dead link]
- ABAlive.com - Home of the American Basketball Association
- George, Rachel (2007-03-24). "Sea Dawgs are unlikely hosts". Wilmington Star News. Retrieved 2008-05-21.
- "Premier Basketball League Welcomes Vermont Frost Heaves And Manchester Millrats". Our Sports Central. 2008-05-09. Retrieved 2008-05-09.
- "Quebec Kebs Join Premier Basketball League". Our Sports Central. 2008-05-21. Retrieved 2008-05-21.
- Walling, Alex (2008-03-28). "ABA stands for Amateur Basketball Association". TSN.ca. Retrieved 2008-09-09.
- Clark, Ryan S. (2010-03-18), SETX Mavericks' playoff opponent forfeits game, Beaumont Enterprise, retrieved 2010-07-14
- ABA Returns To Canada In 2011, American Basketball Association, 2010-08-04, archived from the original on 23 August 2010, retrieved 2010-08-17
- ABA Announced Haitian expansion team
- ABA season schedule
- "Dead Balls". December 3, 2008.
- "American Basketball Association: Stranger Than Fiction". North Pole Hoops. Retrieved 4 August 2014.
- "Bully-Free ABA!". Staten Island Vipers. Retrieved 29 August 2013.
- Mosher, Terry (November 13, 2012). "Admirals' Koebelin ready to fight bullying". Kitsap Sun. Retrieved 29 August 2013.
- Pilon, Mary (April 13, 2013). "The New A.B.A Is a Quirky, Chaotic League". New York Times. Retrieved 15 May 2014.
- Official website of the American Basketball Association
- ABA Global
- ABA Summer Pro Basketball League
- OTC Pink: ABKB