American Basketball Association (2000–present)
|Motto||"More than just a game"|
|Jacksonville Giants (2017-18)|
|Most titles||Jacksonville Giants (5)|
The American Basketball Association (ABA) is an American semi-professional men's basketball minor league that was founded in 1999. The current ABA bears no relation to the original American Basketball Association that was considered a Major League, and merged with the National Basketball Association (NBA) in 1976.
The league began play in 2000 with eight teams. During its initial years of operation, the league focused mainly on teams in larger cities. To attract fans, the ABA encouraged its members to fill rosters with former NBA players and past college basketball stars with local ties.
In 2002–03, the league suspended operations for reorganization. The league resumed play for the 2003–2004 season, but its focus had changed from a few teams in large cities to numerous teams in both large and medium-sized cities. Franchise fees were lowered from $50,000 to $10,000 and the bond requirement was removed in order to attract new teams. The subsequent reduction in initial operating costs allowed the formation of several teams that might otherwise not be possible. However, it also resulted in some under-financed ownership groups. Since 2004, several new teams have failed to complete even their inaugural season due to financial insolvency.
Additionally, teams were organized into regional groups to facilitate interest and reduce travel costs starting with the 2003–2004 season.
The 2004–05 season was the first under this new format, with 37 teams playing that season. Subsequent seasons brought drastic expansion, with some teams proving successful in their early years and others that did not complete their initial seasons. At times, the ABA had 50+ teams playing in a season. Some of the more successful expansion franchises during this era included the Arkansas RimRockers in 2004 and the Rochester Razorsharks in 2005, with each winning the ABA title during the team's first season in the league.
The 2006–07 season saw the nominal cost for a new expansion franchise raised to $20,000, but many still sold for $10,000 – $5,000 or less. In some cases, teams were sold for as little 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. The league's required Securities and Exchange Commission filings in February 2007 indicated that the ABA Board of Directors removed Newman as CEO on January 31, 2007. The filings further stated that Newman's actions as 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 to 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's Board of Directors.
The 2006–07 season saw many franchises fail to travel to road games or to play a full schedule. When weather-related issues did not allow defending champion Rochester Razorsharks to travel for a playoff game against the Wilmington Sea Dawgs, the league attempted to force Rochester to forfeit rather than reschedule. Instead, Rochester chose to withdraw from the league. These several incidents caused some league owners to perceive instability within the league. These frustrated owners separated from the ABA to form the Premier Basketball League (PBL) in late 2007.
Nearly twenty teams folded within the first five weeks of the 2007–08 season, and several remaining teams left the ABA to join other existing leagues. According to Our Sports Central, approximately 35% of the games scheduled for the season were actually played. The teams that played the highest percentage of games were Vermont, the Manchester (NH) Millrats, and the Quebec Kebs. At the conclusion of the season, all three of these teams left to join the PBL.
Another unique franchise for the 2008–09 season was the Beijing Aoshen Olympians, which had previously been kicked out of the Chinese Basketball League and played only home games in the ABA. All Olympians' games were played in Singapore. The Beijing franchise paid $3000 and all team flight accommodations to Singapore for each 2-game home-stand.
Following the 2007–2008 season, the league's most successful franchise by attendance, the Halifax Rainmen, left the ABA. Halifax ownership cited growing frustration with teams that did not show for scheduled games, as well as a biased ranking system. Sports media began to openly criticize the league and question its ability to be taken seriously.
The 2009–10 season was scheduled to have over 50 teams. The season ended with several teams folding in early December, including the entire Northwest Division. The league cancelled several playoff games due to the inability of teams to afford travel. The playoffs ended with Southeast Texas Mustangs defeating the Kentucky Bisons in a three-game series.
The 2010–11 season was expected to field over 60 teams, including a new Canadian Division. In the summer of 2010, the league announced its first Haitian professional basketball team, the Haitian Relief. In total, the ABA planned to host over 800 games throughout the season.
However, the 2010–2011 campaign ended similar to previous seasons, with several teams folding either before or during the season. Instead of the promised 60 teams, the league fielded fewer than 50 full-time franchises that actually played games.
The 2011 ABA All-Star Game resulted in a 123–122 Eastern Conference win over the Western Conference in front of a crowd of 4,488 at the Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena in Jacksonville, Florida. The playoffs started the following weekend, with the last four teams playing a double-elimination tournament at the home of the Southeast Texas Mavericks. The Mavericks who won their second ABA title two games to none over the Gulf Coast Flash.
Despite continued instability, the league announced plans to form the Women's American Basketball Association (WABA), unrelated to the original Women's American Basketball Association, which existed for one season in 2002. The new league's first squad was to be located in Greenville, North Carolina.
The league failed to launch the WABA in the 2011–12 season, and announced new plans to launch for the 2012–2013 season. The second attempted launch was pushed back to the 2013–2014 season with nine initial teams set to play: 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. As of April 2015 the WABA has yet to report any game results.
October 9, 2015, the ABA announced online live streaming partnerships with both LiveSportsCaster and WatchIDSN, two independent live sports streaming platforms based in Louisville, Kentucky and Chicago, Illinois, respectively.
On April 9, 2016, the Jacksonville Giants won the ABA championship, their third, with a 93–90 win over the Windy City Groove. They had previously defeated the Groove 92–80 on April 8, 2016 to take the best-of-three series in straight games.
On February 10, 2017, the Hawaii Swish, owned by Geremy Robinson and a member of the Far West Division, debuted at Neal Blaisdell Arena with a game against the Yuba City Goldminers.
Note: Teams with no scheduled games, very few scheduled games, playing sporadically, or folded are not listed here.
Far West Division
|Colorado Springs Mountaineers||Colorado Springs, Colorado|
|Contra Costa County Delta Stars||Contra Costa County|
|Hawaii Swish||Honolulu, Hawaii||Neal S. Blaisdell Center|
|Henderson Hawks||Las Vegas, Nevada||Mirabelli Community Center|
|Oakland Bayhawks||Oakland, California||Golden Gate Recreation Center|
|Orange County Novastars||Irvine, California||Fullerton Community College|
|San Diego Guardians||San Diego, California||The Salvation Army Kroc Center|
|San Diego Kings||San Diego, California||Grossmont College|
|San Diego Surf||San Diego, California||Hourglass Arena|
|San Francisco City Cats||San Francisco, California|
|Sacramento Super Kats||Sacramento, California||Sacramento|
|Team Trouble||Stockton, California||Stockton Arena|
|Tucson Buckets||Tucson, Arizona||Pima Community College|
|Vancouver Dragons||Richmond, BC||Richmond Olympic Oval|
South Central Division
|Austin Bats||Austin, Texas||Pan Am Recreation Center|
|Kyle Stallions||Kyle, Texas||Lehman High School|
|San Antonio Blaze||San Antonio, Texas||Sunny Brook Christian Academy|
|Texas Nighthawks||Temple, Texas||Clarence Martin Rec|
|Twin City Jazz||Monroe, Louisiana|
South East Division
|Atlanta Aliens||East Point, Georgia||Jefferson Park Rec Center|
|Atlanta Storm||Stone Mountain, Georgia||Action Sports Academy|
|Southwest Warriors||Atlanta, Georgia||Adamsville Recreation Center|
|Georgia Gwizzlies||Atlanta, Georgia|
|Jackson Showboats||Jackson, Mississippi||Kurtz Gym|
|Jacksonville Giants||Jacksonville, Florida||Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena|
|Mobile Bay Tornados||Mobile, Alabama|
|Orlando Waves||Orlando, Florida||Downtown Orlando Recreation Complex|
|St. Augustine Glory||St. Augustine, Florida||Flagler College|
|St. Petersburg Tide||St. Petersburg, Florida||Eckerd College|
|Sarasota Manatee||Sarasota, Florida||Robert L. Taylor Community Center|
|South Florida Gold||Lake Worth, Florida||Trinity Christian Academy|
|Baltimore Hawks||Baltimore, Maryland|
|DMV Warriors||Woodlawn, Maryland||Woodlawn High School (Maryland)|
|Fayetteville Flight||Fayetteville, North Carolina||Crown Coliseum|
|Fredericksburg Grizzlies||Fredericksburg, Virginia||University of Mary Washington Anderson Center|
|NEPA Stars & Stripes||Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania|
|PG Valor||Camp Springs, Maryland|
|Reading Wizards||Reading, Pennsylvania||Southern Middle School|
|Richmond Elite||Highland Springs, Virginia||Highland Springs High School|
|Steel City Yellow Jackets||Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania||A Giving Heart Community Center|
North Central Division
|Chicago Fury||Chicago, Illinois||Salvation Army Red Shield Center|
|Chicago Steam||South Holland, Illinois||South Suburban College|
|La Crosse Showtime||La Crosse, Wisconsin||La Crosse Center|
|Libertyville Vipers||Deerfield, Illinois||Joy of the Game|
|Team NetWork||Detroit, Michigan||Romulus Athletic Center|
|West Michigan Lake Hawks||Muskegon, Michigan||Reeths Puffer High School|
|Windy City Groove||Chicago, Illinois|
|Binghamton Bulldogs||Binghamton, New York||Seton Catholic Central High School|
|Elmira Eagles||Elmira, New York|
|Jersey Express||Paterson, New Jersey||Wayne YMCA|
|Oneonta Octane||Oneonta, New York|
|Roc City Ravens||Rochester, New York|
|Springfield Sting||Springfield, Massachusetts||Springfield Technical Community College|
|Syracuse Stallions||Syracuse, New York|
|Worcester 78's||Worcester, Massachusetts||Boys and Girls Club|
|Shizuoka Gymrats||Shizuoka, Japan||Travel-only|
The ABA method of handing franchises to anybody who is willing to pay the ABA franchise fee, with no consideration to whether the franchisee can afford to operate the team 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.
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)
- 2018 ABA All-Star Game – (A Giving Heart Community Center)
Player of the Year
Coach of the Year
Executive of the Year
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
- 2015–16 – Maurice Mickens, Jacksonville Giants
MVP – All-Star Game
- 2006–07 – Modie Cox, Buffalo Silverbacks
- 2013–14 – Aurora Deiri, Texas FUEL
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.
- 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
- Navarro, June (2010-04-27), Smart Gilas five nips San Diego, Philippine Daily Inquirer, 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
- ^ "Basketball History: ABA awards Sports Radio America Broadcast Rights". Releasewire. 2015-06-22. Retrieved 2015-06-23
- ^ http://www.americanbasketballassociation.org/#!ABA-PARTNERS-WITH-LIVESPORTSCASTER-AND-WatchIDSN/clfr/5615646e0cf27d786fdbd98b "ABA PARTNERS WITH LIVESPORTSCASTER AND WatchIDSN". AmericanBasketballAssociation.com. 2015-10-09. Retrieved 2015-10-18
- "New ABA franchise, Hawaii Swish, to debut in February". KHON. Honolulu. January 16, 2017. Retrieved January 17, 2017.
- "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.