The Basketball League

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The Basketball League (TBL)
Upcoming season or competition:
Current sports event 2021 TBL season
TheBasketBallLeague Logo.jpeg
Inaugural season2018
CEOEvelyn Magley
PresidentDave Magley
CommissionerCarlnel Wiley
Motto"Where the spirit of the game lives"
No. of teams34
CountriesUnited States
ContinentFIBA Americas (Americas)
Most recent
Albany Patroons (2019)

The Basketball League (TBL) is a minor professional basketball league operating in North America that began play in 2018 as North American Premier Basketball (NAPB). Teams operate on a budget of $125,000 to $250,000 per season with player salaries in the $1,000 to $4,000 per month range depending on the team.[1]


On July 7, 2017, Dr. Sev Hrywnak and Dave Magley announced the formation of a new professional basketball league. Magley previously served as commissioner for the National Basketball League of Canada (NBLC).[2] Dr. Sev Hrywnak was the owner of the Rochester Razorsharks. Teams are based throughout the United States and Western Canada. Over the course of two years, the league administration located cities that formerly hosted basketball teams in the defunct Continental Basketball Association, the Premier Basketball League, defunct NBA teams and other potential sports markets. The purpose of the league is to provide opportunities for community involvement particularly schools from the elementary to high school levels. Programs include players reading to younger children, hosting basketball camps for teens, and speaking in school-wide assemblies about substance abuse and staying in school.[3]

The league launched its inaugural 2018 season with eight teams: the Albany Patroons, Kansas City Tornados, Kentucky Thoroughbreds, Nevada Desert Dogs, Ohio Cardinals, Rochester Razorsharks, Vancouver Knights, and the Yakima SunKings. The Ohio Cardinals were replaced midseason by the Ohio Bootleggers, a team operated by the former ownership of the Vancouver Knights.

On February 25, 2018, Dave Magley stated that there were four more approved franchises in Bellevue, Washington, Raleigh, North Carolina, Tampa, Florida, and San Diego, California, with the goal of 16 total well-funded teams, for a 2019 season.[4]

After the first NAPB season, Magley acquired the league as sole owner, moved the headquarters to Indiana, and named Evelyn Magley - his wife - as the new CEO. On July 14, the league was rebranded as The Basketball League (TBL).[5] Paul Mokeski, head coach and general manager of the Nevada Desert Dogs during the inaugural season, was then named commissioner of the league for the 2019 season.[6] During the league changes, the Ohio Bootleggers, Rochester Razorsharks, and Vancouver Knights folded while the Bellevue team never came to fruition. The league then added the existing teams, the Jamestown Jackals and New York Court Kings, in addition to the three previously announced expansion teams, the Raleigh Firebirds, San Diego Waves, and Tampa Bay Titans. Three teams also slightly rebranded with the Kansas City Tornadoes, Mesquite Desert Dogs, and Owensboro Thoroughbreds. The 2019 season commenced with ten teams.

During the second season, there were many canceled and rescheduled games.[7] The league cut its season short, with the New York Court Kings and Kansas City Tornadoes either folding or ceasing operations for the season.[8]

Prior to the third season, the league added the Columbus Condors, Dayton Flight, Dallas Skyline, Gulf Coast Lions, Indy Express, Lewisville Yellow Jackets, and the Tri-State Admirals as expansion teams.[9][10] The San Diego Waves were replaced by expansion San Diego Armada while the Waves were being relocated, but neither team would make the 2020 schedule.[11] Due to the lack of other western teams, the Yakima SunKings and the Mesquite Desert Dogs suspended operations. The third season started in January 2020, but on March 11, 2020, the league announced the season would end prematurely due to the COVID-19 pandemic and have a four-team playoff on March 18 through 22. However, the tournament was also cancelled as most events throughout the country were closed to prevent the spread of the virus.

The league then proceeded to announce several new teams for the 2021 season, expanding from 12 teams in the curtailed 2020 season to 35 teams as of January 11, 2021. Several of the added teams came from the semi-professional American Basketball Association.[12][13][14]


Locations of teams in The Basketball League

2021 teams[edit]

Division Team City Arena Capacity Founded Joined Head coach
Eastern Conference
Northeast Jamestown Jackals Jamestown, New York Jamestown Community College 1,400 2015[a] 2019 Ken Crosby
South Shore Monarchs Boston, Massachusetts 2020 2021 Joseph Platt
Syracuse Stallions Syracuse, New York Bishop Grimes High School 2017 2021 Nick Perioli
Tri-State Admirals Jersey City, New Jersey Jersey City Armory 2019 2020
Southeast Atlanta Empire Atlanta, Georgia 2020 2021
Charleston Coyotes Charleston, South Carolina 2020 2021
Gulf Coast Lions Sarasota, Florida Booker High School 2019 2020 Lazarus Sims
Raleigh Firebirds Raleigh, North Carolina Word of God Christian Academy 2018 2019 Robert Brickey
Tampa Bay Titans New Port Richey, Florida Pasco–Hernando State College 2018 2019
Central Conference
Plains Enid Outlaws Enid, Oklahoma Stride Bank Center 3,887 2020 2021 Ed Corporal
Little Rock Lightning Little Rock, Arkansas 2019 2021 Brent Bennett
Midtown Prestige Wichita, Kansas Charles Koch Arena 10,506 2020 2021
Omaha's Finest Omaha, Nebraska Omaha Central High School 2020 2021 Eric Behrens
Southwest Dallas Skyline Addison, Texas University of Texas at Dallas 7,000 2019 2020 Angela Weathers
Lewisville Leopards Lewisville, Texas Macedonia C.A.R.E. Center 2019 2020 Mathis Crowder
Houston Push[15] Houston, Texas 2020 2021 Moochie Norris
Shreveport Mavericks[16] Shreveport, Louisiana 2006[b] 2021 Steve Tucker
Waco Royals Waco, Texas 2020 2021 Mamadou Diene
Midwest Conference
Upper Midwest Columbus Condors Westerville, Ohio Otterbein University 4,000 2016[c] 2020 Darrell Miller
Dayton Flight Dayton, Ohio Wilberforce University 2019 2020 Gary Armstrong
Detroit Hustle Detroit, Michigan 2020 2021 Antonio Capaldi
Flint United Flint, Michigan Dort Federal Credit Union Event Center 2020 2021 Charlie Bell
Lower Midwest Avon Aces Avon, Indiana 2020 2021 Phil Washington
Indy Express Indianapolis, Indiana Thomas Howe High School 2019 2020 Andre Owens
Kokomo BobKats Kokomo, Indiana Memorial Gymnasium 2020 2021 Cliff Levingston[17]
Owensboro Thoroughbreds Owensboro, Kentucky Owensboro Sportscenter 5,000 2017 2018 Mark Anderson
Western Conference
Pacific Northwest California Sea-Kings Seaside, California Monterey Peninsula College 2009 2021
Fresno Fire Fresno, California 2020 2021 Renaldo Major
Portland Storm Portland, Oregon 2019 2021 Jeff Perrault
Salem Capitals Salem, Oregon Salem Armory Auditorium 2020 2021 Brian Stevens
SoCal San Diego Guardians San Diego, California 2017 2021 Brandon Cheeks
Temecula Eagles Temecula, California 2020 2021
Vegas Ballers Las Vegas, Nevada 2020 2021 James Robinson
West Coast Breeze San Marcos, California[18] 2020 2021 Bob Petty

Hiatus for 2021[edit]

Team City Arena Seasons Notes
Albany Patroons Albany, New York Washington Avenue Armory 2018–2020[d] Opted out of 2021 season due to COVID-19 pandemic.[19]
  1. ^ Originally in the Premier Basketball League for 2016, joined the North American Basketball League for 2018 after the PBL ceased operations.
  2. ^ As the Rio Grande Valley Silverados in the ABA.
  3. ^ Originally in the Central Basketball Association in 2016, relaunched as the Ohio Bootleggers in the Premier Basketball League for 2017 and the North American Basketball League for 2018 before the Bootleggers filled in for the folded NAPB Ohio Cardinals for the remainder of the 2018 NAPB season.
  4. ^ New franchise replacing the defunct team of the same name.

Former teams[edit]

Team City Arena Seasons Notes
Kansas City Tornadoes Kansas City, Missouri multiple 2018–2019 Reportedly backed out of participating in 2019 playoffs despite being second place; not listed on website after season ended.
Mesquite Desert Dogs Mesquite, Nevada multiple 2018–2019 Withdrew prior to the 2020 season citing travel costs as the last remaining west coast team.[20]
New York Court Kings Queens, New York Elmcor Youth and Adult Activities Center 2019 Joined from the ABA; apparently ceased operations during the 2019 season.
Ohio Bootleggers Westerville, Ohio Otterbein University Rike Center 2018 Owners of the Bootleggers had been operating the Vancouver Knights since sometime during the 2018 season. The Bootleggers' NABL team then replaced the folded Ohio Cardinals midseason, but were not listed by TBL as a 2019 member. The Bootleggers relaunched as the Columbus Condors in 2020.
Ohio Cardinals Akron, Ohio LeBron James Arena 2018 Folded during the 2018 season.
Rochester Razorsharks Rochester, New York Blue Cross Arena 2018 Played the 2018 NAPB season. Change of ownership and left TBL.
San Diego Waves San Diego, California San Diego Mesa College 2019 Team's owner was stated to be relocating the team to an undecided location. San Diego Armada was announced as a replacement team for the 2020 season under new ownership.
Vancouver Knights Richmond, British Columbia Richmond Olympic Oval 2018 The Ohio Bootleggers' ownership took over operations of the Knights during the season and the Knights became a travel team. Ownership was transferred during the 2018 season to another unidentified group once the Bootleggers took over for the Cardinals' schedule. Was not listed by TBL as a 2019 member.
Yakima SunKings Yakima, Washington Yakima SunDome 2018–2019 Went on hiatus for 2020.[21]

Team timeline[edit]

Current teams in tan
Former teams in dark tan
Announced future teams in green

Waco RoyalsSyracuse StallionsSouth Shore MonarchsShreveport MavericksSan Diego GuardiansLittle Rock LightningFresno FireFlint UnitedEnid OutlawsDetroit HustleAtlanta Empire (TBL)Anderson AcesTri-State AdmiralsLewisville LeopardsDallas SkylineTampa Bay TitansSan Diego WavesRaleigh FirebirdsJamestown JackalsColumbus CondorsYakima SunKingsRochester RazorsharksMesquite Desert DogsOwensboro ThoroughbredsKansas City TornadoesAlbany Patroons


Season Regular season champion Regular season MVP Playoff champion Playoff runner-up Playoff MVP
2018 Yakima SunKings Edwin Ubiles (Albany) Yakima SunKings Albany Patroons Renaldo Major
2019 Yakima SunKings Robert Duncan (Yakima) Albany Patroons Yakima SunKings Shadell Millinghaus


  1. ^ "The Raptors Are New to Tampa's Basketball Scene. The Titans Aren't". The New York Times. January 20, 2021. Retrieved January 21, 2021.
  2. ^ "KU notebook: Ex-Jayhawk David Magley leaves Canada pro league for new venture in U.S." The Kansas City Star. July 2, 2017.
  3. ^ "The North American Premier Basketball League". NAPB.
  4. ^ "State of the NAPB: Magley shares thoughts on first half of season". NAPB. February 25, 2018.
  5. ^ "Meet the First Black Female Owner of a Male Professional Basketball League (Not a Team, But a League!)". Black News. July 17, 2018.
  6. ^ "Mesquite (Nevada) Desert Dogs coming back for 2019". Mesquite Local News. August 17, 2018.
  7. ^ "GOOD AND BAD NEWS FOR DESERT DOGS". Mesquite Local News. April 12, 2019.
  8. ^ "Patroons trying to make it work". Times Union. April 8, 2019.
  9. ^ "DAYTON FLIGHT TAKES OFF IN OHIO". The Basketball League. Retrieved September 2, 2019.
  10. ^ "Weekly Sports League and Franchise Report". Our Sports Central. Retrieved October 19, 2019.
  11. ^ "Weekly Sports League and Franchise Report". Our Sports Central. Retrieved September 2, 2019.
  12. ^ "Syracuse Stallions take it up a notch, move from ABA to 'The Basketball League'". CNY Central. May 1, 2020.
  13. ^ "PORTLAND STORM TO BECOME FULL ABA TEAM". ABA Live Action. April 18, 2020.
  14. ^ "San Diego Guardians Support Local Community as New Professional Basketball Team in TBL". The Basketball League. August 3, 2020.
  15. ^ "Steve Francis Announces Ownership of New Houston-Based TBL Team". PR Newswire. December 21, 2020.
  17. ^ "Professional minor league basketball team comes to Kokomo". Kokomo Perspective. August 11, 2020.
  19. ^ "Albany Patroons cancel 2021 season". Times Union. March 1, 2021.
  20. ^ "Mesquite Desert Dogs November 18, 2019, Facebook post". Facebook. November 18, 2019.
  21. ^ "SunKings will not be returning for a third season". KIMA TV. October 29, 2019.

External links[edit]