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American Basketball Association (2000-present)

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American Basketball Association (2000-present)

American Basketball Association (ABA)
ABA logo
Sport Basketball
Founded 1999
Motto "More than just a game"
No. of teams 78
Countries Canada
United States
Continent FIBA Americas (Americas)
Most recent champion(s) Shreveport-Bossier Mavericks (2013-14)
Most titles Shreveport-Bossier Mavericks (3)
Official website ABA

The American Basketball Association, often abbreviated as 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.


The current ABA was started up by Joe Newman and Richard Tinkham. Tinkham was an executive with the Indiana Pacers when they were in the original ABA. They licensed the ABA name from the NBA.[1]


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.[2][3]

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,[4] but many still sold for $5,000 - $10,000 and less, in some cases going as low as $1.[5][6] 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.[7] 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.[8] 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.[9] 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.[10] 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.[11][12] 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.[13]

The 2008–09 season saw the league conduct interleague play with the Continental Basketball Association.


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.[14] 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.[15]


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.[16] In the summer the league announced the first Haitian pro-basketball team, Haitian Relief.[17] The league planned to host over 800 games combined amongst the teams.[18]

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.[19] 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.


Current clubs

Gulf Coast Division

Team Location Arena (Capacity)
Birmingham Blitz Birmingham, Alabama
Bowling Green Bandits Bowling Green, Kentucky E.A. Diddle Arena (7,326)
Jackson Showboats Jackson, Mississippi
Memphis Lions Memphis, Tennessee
Mobile Bay Tornados Mobile, Alabama
Montgomery Blackhawks Montgomery, Alabama
Shreveport-Bossier Mavericks Shreveport, Louisiana Hirsch Memorial Coliseum (10,300)

Mid-Atlantic Division

Team Location Arena (Capacity)
Baltimore Hawks Baltimore, Maryland
Charleston City Lions Charleston, South Carolina
Fayetteville Flight Fayetteville, North Carolina Freedom Courts Sportsplex
Greenville Galaxy Greenville, South Carolina
North Carolina Coyotes Henderson, North Carolina
Richmond Elite Highland Springs, Virginia Highland Springs High School

NoCal Division

Team Location Arena (Capacity)
Bay Area Matrix San Francisco, California
Central Valley Titans Exeter, California Exeter Union High School
Fresno Flight Fresno, California West Fresno Middle School
San Francisco Rumble San Francisco, California Joseph Lee Rec Center

North Central Division

Team Location Arena (Capacity)
Chicago Fury Chicago, Illinois Illinois Institute of Technology
Chicago Steam South Holland, Illinois South Suburban College
Detroit Coast II Coast All-Stars Detroit, Michigan Cass Technical High School
Detroit Hoops Detroit, Michigan Ernest T. Ford Recreation Center
Illinois Balldogz Illinois
Indiana State Warriors Portage, Indiana Portage High School
Indy Naptown All-Stars Indianapolis, Indiana Arsenal Technical High School
Iowa Greyhounds Estherville, Iowa
Libertyville Vipers Libertyville, Illinois Falcon Park Recreation Center
Milwaukee RimRattlers Milwaukee, Wisconsin Milwaukee County Sports Complex
Motor City Firebirds Pontiac, Michigan Beech Woods Recreation Center
Oakland County Cowboys Southfield, Michigan Bradford Academy
Southern Illinois Monarchs Ina, Illinois Rend Lake College
TEAM NetWork Detroit, Michigan Romulus Athletic Center
West Michigan Lake Hawks Muskegon, Michigan Muskegon Heights Academy

Northeast Division

Team Location Arena (Capacity)
Bronx Holy Flames Bronx, New York
Brooklyn Sky Rockets Brooklyn, New York
Jersey Express Jersey City, New Jersey
Philadelphia Spirit Burlington, New Jersey
Providence Sky Chiefs Pawtucket, Rhode Island Rhode Island College (2000)
Staten Island Vipers Staten Island, New York Port Richmond High School (2000)
Steel City Yellow Jackets Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania CCAC Allegheny Campus (2000)
Syracuse Storm Syracuse, New York

Pacific Northwest Division

Team Location Arena (Capacity)
Calgary Crush Calgary, Alberta SAIT Polytechnic
Kitsap Admirals Bremerton, Washington
Lakewood Panthers Lakewood, Washington
Seattle Mountaineers Seattle, Washington Green River Community College
Vancouver Ballaholics Vancouver, British Columbia

SoCal Division

Team Location Arena (Capacity)
Arizona Scorpions Phoenix, Arizona Phoenix College (2,000)
Inland Empire Invaders Riverside, California
Las Vegas Flames Las Vegas, Nevada Durango Hills Community Center
Los Angeles Slam Los Angeles, California Santiago Canyon College
Oceanside A-Team Oceanside, California Mira Costa College
Orange County Novastars Irvine, California Fullerton Community College
San Diego Surf San Diego, California Miramar College

Southeast Division

Team Location Arena (Capacity)
Albany Shockwave Albany, Georgia
Atlanta Aliens Atlanta, Georgia
Atlanta Wildcats Atlanta, Georgia Lynnwood Recreation Center
Georgia Gwizzlies Austell, Georgia South Cobb Recreational Center
Jacksonville Giants Jacksonville, Florida Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena (6,806)
Miami Midnites Miami, Florida David Posnack Jewish Community Center
South Florida Gold Fort Lauderdale, Florida
Southcoast Fire Orange Park, Florida Ridgeview High School
Southwest Fellowship Warriors Savannah, Georgia Savannah High School

Southwest Division

Team Location Arena (Capacity)
Am-Mex Swarm Piedras Negras, Mexico Auditorio Santiago V. Gonzales
Austin Boom Austin, Texas
Baytown Bandits Baytown, Texas
Dallas Impact Dallas, Texas Lakewest Family YMCA
Houston Xperience Kingwood, Texas Lone Star College-Kingwood
Sugar Land Legends Sugar Land, Texas Wheeler Fieldhouse
Texas Fuel San Antonio, Texas
West Texas Whirlwinds Midland, Texas

Other teams playing

Team Location Arena (Capacity)
Chicago Court Kingz Chicago, Illinois Travel-only
Colorado Kings Denver, Colorado Travel-only
DMV Kings Baltimore, Maryland Travel only
Metroplex Lightning Dallas, Texas Travel only
Missouri Rhythm Raytown, Missouri The ROC Fitness & Recreation
Shizuoka Gymrats Shizuoka, Japan Travel-Only
South Houston Assault Humble, Texas The Gym

Defunct teams

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.[20] As of summer 2014, the number was over 350.[21]

Former teams that joined other leagues

Championship Game results

Year Champion Runner-up Score(s) Location Reference
2000–01 Detroit Dogs Chicago Skyliners 107-91 Cox Pavilion
2001–02 Kansas City Knights Southern California Surf 118-113 Kemper Arena
2003–04 Long Beach Jam Kansas City Knights 126-123 Walter Pyramid
2004–05 Arkansas RimRockers Bellevue Blackhawks 118-103 Alltel Arena
2005–06 Rochester Razorsharks SoCal Legends 117-114 Blue Cross Arena
2006–07 Vermont Frost Heaves Texas Tycoons 143-95 Barre Auditorium
2007–08 Vermont Frost Heaves San Diego Wildcats 87-84 Pavillon de la Jeunesse
2008-09 Kentucky Bisons Maywood Buzz 127-120 Nashville Municipal Auditorium
2009–10 Southeast Texas Mavericks Kentucky Bisons 96-99, 104-83, 85-76 Lamar State College Best-of 3
2010-11 Southeast Texas Mavericks Gulf Coast Flash 114-97, 109-85 Nutty Jerry's Entertainment Complex Best-of 3
2011-12 Jacksonville Giants South Carolina Warriors 106-101, 100-91 Eckerd College Best-of 3
2012-13 Jacksonville Giants North Dallas Vandals 85-84, 110-109 Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena Best-of 3
2013–14 Shreveport-Bossier Mavericks Jacksonville Giants 136-127, 105-103 Hirsch Memorial Coliseum Best-of 3

All-Star Game results


Player of the Year

Coach of the Year

Executive of the Year

MVP - Championship Game

MVP - All-Star Game

Community Service

Anti-Bully Program

Former CEO Joe Newman started Bully-Free ABA! after his grandchildren became victims of bullying.[23] 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.[24] Following the visits, time is usually allowed for the students to interact with the team on the court.

See also


  1. ^ Wolff, Alexander (2005-12-14), "Jumping into the ABA with the Vermont Frost Heaves", Sports Illustrated, retrieved 2010-08-17 
  2. ^ Stephens, Eric (December 27, 2000). "Stars Shine in ABA Debut Before 5,347". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved July 17, 2011. 
  3. ^ Rovell, Darren (August 20, 2000). "ABA 2000 plays the name game". Retrieved July 17, 2011. 
  4. ^ Iverson's mom has own ABA team, Associated Press, 2006-08-25, retrieved 2010-08-17 
  5. ^ Ruben, Mike (2009-01-15), Housing Authority Brings Pro Basketball to State, State Journal, retrieved 2010-08-17 
  6. ^ Becker, Michael (2006-07-26), "Firing Away at the ABA", Los Angeles Times, retrieved 2010-08-17 
  7. ^ 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.
  8. ^ [1]
  9. ^ - Home of the American Basketball Association
  10. ^ George, Rachel (2007-03-24). "Sea Dawgs are unlikely hosts". Wilmington Star News. Retrieved 2008-05-21. 
  11. ^ a b "Premier Basketball League Welcomes Vermont Frost Heaves And Manchester Millrats". Our Sports Central. 2008-05-09. Retrieved 2008-05-09. 
  12. ^ "Quebec Kebs Join Premier Basketball League". Our Sports Central. 2008-05-21. Retrieved 2008-05-21. 
  13. ^ Walling, Alex (2008-03-28). "ABA stands for Amateur Basketball Association". Retrieved 2008-09-09. 
  14. ^ Clark, Ryan S. (2010-03-18), SETX Mavericks' playoff opponent forfeits game, Beaumont Enterprise, retrieved 2010-07-14 
  15. ^ Navarro, June (2010-04-27), Smart Gilas five nips San Diego, Philippine Daily Inquirer, retrieved 2010-07-14 
  16. ^ ABA Returns To Canada In 2011, American Basketball Association, 2010-08-04, archived from the original on 23 August 2010, retrieved 2010-08-17 
  17. ^ ABA Announced Haitian expansion team
  18. ^ ABA season schedule
  19. ^ [2]
  20. ^ "Dead Balls". December 3, 2008. 
  21. ^ "American Basketball Association: Stranger Than Fiction". North Pole Hoops. Retrieved 4 August 2014. 
  22. ^ Continental Basketball League Welcomes the HEARTLAND PROWL, Continental Basketball League, 2011-03-28, retrieved 2011-03-30 
  23. ^ "Bully-Free ABA!". Staten Island Vipers. Retrieved 29 August 2013. 
  24. ^ 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. 

External links

  • Official website of the American Basketball Association
  • ABA Global
  • ABA Summer Pro Basketball League
  • OTC Pink: ABKB
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