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American Basketball Association (21st century)

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American Basketball Association (21st century)

For other uses, see ABA (disambiguation).
American Basketball Association (ABA)
Logo ABA
Sport Basketball
Founded 1999
Motto "More than just a game"
Countries CAN
Continent FIBA Americas (Americas)
Most recent champion(s) Jacksonville Giants (2nd title)
Most titles Southeast Texas Mavericks
Vermont Frost Heaves
Jacksonville Giants (2 titles each)
Official website

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 2002-2003 season for reorganization. After returning one season to help rebuild, league focus was changed, from 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 costs and allowed several cities to get into the league that otherwise wouldn't. However, it also resulted in several ownership groups being badly underfinanced. Over the last decade, this has resulted in the creation of several new teams, but many of them haven't finished the season.


The 2004-2005 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. 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. Both won an ABA title in the team's First season.


The 2006-2007 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 2006-2007 expansion franchise was the Vermont Frost Heaves, owned by Sports Illustrated writer Alexander Wolff. Also in 2006-2007, 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 2006-2007 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 2007-2008 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 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 2008-2009 season saw the league conduct interleague play with the Continental Basketball Association.


The 2009-2010 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 2010-2011 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 will join the ABA prior to a formation of the Canadian Division when more Canadian teams 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 before the season and during the season. Fewer than 50 full-time teams 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.[19] The league planned to form the Women's American Basketball Association (WABA) league, unrelated to the original Women's American Basketball Association, another league which existed for one whole season in 2002.[20] The new league's first squad was to be located in Greenville, North Carolina.[21]


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.[22] Currently, the league is set to begin play in 2014 and has 9 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.[23]

Current clubs

For regular season standings of past ABA seasons, see American Basketball Association (2000–) standings.

Gulf Coast Division

Team Location Arena (Capacity)
Bluff City Reign Olive Branch, Mississippi Olive Branch High School
Gulf Coast Flash Gulfport, Mississippi Gulfport High School
Jackson Showboats Jackson, Mississippi
Lake City Kingdom Riders Lake Charles, Louisiana
Mobile Bay Tornados Mobile, Alabama
Monroe Magicians Monroe, Louisiana
New Orleans Cougars New Orleans, Louisiana
Shreveport/Bossier Mavericks Shreveport Louisiana

Southeast Division

Team Location Arena (Capacity)
Atlanta Aliens Atlanta, Georgia
Atlanta Wildcats Atlanta, Georgia Lynnwood Recreation Center
Birmingham Blitz Birmingham, Alabama Fair Park Arena (6,000)
Gainesville Heat Gainesville, Georgia
Georgia Gwizzlies Austell, Georgia South Cobb Recreational Center
Georgia Roadrunners Columbus, Georgia
Jacksonville Giants Jacksonville, Florida Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena (6,806)
Montgomery BlackHawks Montgomery, Alabama
South Florida Gold Fort Lauderdale, Florida
Southwest Fellowship Warriors Savannah, Georgia Savannah High School

Mid-Atlantic Division

Team Location Arena (Capacity)
Charleston Lions Charleston, South Carolina
Fayetteville Flight Fayetteville, North Carolina Freedom Courts Sportsplex
Greenville Galaxy Greenville, South Carolina
Hampton Road Stallions Virginia Beach, Virginia Virginia Beach Field House
North Carolina Coyotes Henderson, North Carolina
Richmond Elite Highland Springs, Virginia Highland Springs High School
Lynchburg Legends Lynchburg, Virginia Lynchburg City Armory
South Carolina Warriors Myrtle Beach, South Carolina Carolina Forest Recreation Center

Mid-Central Division

Team Location Arena (Capacity)
Chicago Steam South Holland, Illinois South Suburban College Fieldhouse
Detroit Hoops Detroit, Michigan Detroit Edison Public School Academy
King City Monarchs South Bend, Indiana
Midwest Flames Peoria, Illinois
Pontiac Firebirds Pontiac, Michigan

Northeast Division

Team Location Arena (Capacity)
Bronx Holy Flames Bronx, New York Travel-only
Brooklyn Blackout Brooklyn, New York
Jersey Express Jersey City, New Jersey Centenary College of New Jersey (1200)
New York Jamm New York, New York
North Shore Tides Boston, Massachusetts
Staten Island Vipers Staten Island, New York

Pacific Northwest Division

Team Location Arena (Capacity)
Calgary Crush Calgary, Alberta
Kitsap Admirals Bremerton, Washington
Seattle Mountaineers Seattle, Washington Green River Community College
Tacoma Rise Tacoma, Washington Delesky-Black Gymnasium, Foss HS (3000)
Washington Rampage Marysville, Washington

SoCal Division

Team Location Arena (Capacity)
Arizona Scorpions Phoenix, Arizona Phoenix College (2,000)
Inland Empire Invaders Riverside, California
Central Valley Titans Exeter, California Exeter Union High School
Fresno Griffins Fresno, California West Fresno High School
Las Vegas Flames Las Vegas, Nevada
Los Angeles Slam Los Angeles, California Antelope Valley Christian School
Orange County Novastars Irvine, California
San Diego Surf San Diego, California Hourglass Arena, Miramar College

Southwest Division

Team Location Arena (Capacity)
Conway Cyclones Conway, Arkansas Grove Gymnasium (Hendrix College) (1,100)
Dallas Impact Dallas, Texas Lakewest Family YMCA
Fort Smith Firebirds Fort Smith, Arkansas
North Dallas Vandals North Dallas, Texas Dr. Pepper Arena (7,000)
Oklahoma Stallions Oklahoma City, Oklahoma Douglass High School
South Houston Assault Houston, Texas Travel-only
Texarkana Panthers Texarkana, Arkansas
West Texas Whirlwinds Midland, Texas Odessa College

Other Teams Playing

Team Location Arena (Capacity)
Chicago Court Kingz Chicago, Illinois Travel-only
Coast II Coast All Stars Detroit, Michigan Travel only
Colorado Kings Denver, Colorado Green Valley Ranch Elementary School
Missouri Rhythm Raytown, Missouri The ROC Fitness & Recreation
Shizuoka Gymrats Shizuoka, Japan Travel-Only

2014 Expansion Announced

Team Location Arena (Capacity)
Philadelphia Spirit Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Defunct teams

The ABA method of handing franchises to anybody who is willing to buy one, with no consideration to whether the person can afford it or not, resulted in over 200 folded franchises as of the beginning of the 2008 season.[24]

Former teams that joined other leagues

Championship Game results

For complete playoff results of past ABA seasons, see American Basketball Association (2000–) Playoff Results.
For standings of past ABA seasons, see American Basketball Association (2000–) standings.
Year Champion Runner-up Score Location Reference
2000–2001 Detroit Dogs Chicago Skyliners 107-91 Cox Pavilion
2001–2002 Kansas City Knights Southern California Surf 118-113 Kemper Arena
2003–2004 Long Beach Jam Kansas City Knights 126-123 Walter Pyramid
2004–2005 Arkansas RimRockers Bellevue Blackhawks 118-103 Alltel Arena
2005–2006 Rochester Razorsharks SoCal Legends 117-114 Blue Cross Arena
2006–2007 Vermont Frost Heaves Texas Tycoons 143-95 Barre Auditorium
2007–2008 Vermont Frost Heaves San Diego Wildcats 87-84 Pavillon de la Jeunesse
2008-2009 Kentucky Bisons Maywood Buzz 127-120 Nashville Municipal Auditorium
2009–2010 Southeast Texas Mavericks Kentucky Bisons 96-99, 104-83, 85-76 Lamar State College Best of 3 Games
2010-2011 Southeast Texas Mavericks Gulf Coast Flash 114-97, 109-85 Nutty Jerry's Entertainment Complex Best of 3 Games
2011-2012 Jacksonville Giants South Carolina Warriors 106-101, 100-91 Eckerd College Best of 3 Games
2012-2013 Jacksonville Giants North Dallas Vandals 85-84, 110-109 Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena Best of 3 Games

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

Main article: Bully-Free ABA!

CEO Joe Newman started Bully-Free ABA! after his grandchildren became victims of bullying. [26] 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. [27] Following the visits, time is usually allowed for the students to interact with the team on the court.

See also


External links

  • - Official website of the American Basketball Association
  • Template:OTCPink
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