American Basketball Association (2000–present)

American Basketball Association (2000–present)
American Basketball Association (ABA)
Logo ABA
Sport Basketball
Founded 1999
Motto "More than just a game"
No. of teams 86
Country(ies)  Canada
 United States
Continent FIBA Americas (Americas)
Most recent champion(s) Southeast Texas Mavericks (2nd title)
Most titles Southeast Texas Mavericks
Vermont Frost Heaves (2 titles each)
Official website

The American Basketball Association, often abbreviated as ABA, is a 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 name, however, is still owned by NBA Properties, who sent a cease and desist letter over use of the name in 2009. No further legal action has been made by NBA Properties.[1]



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.[2]


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 National Basketball Association (NBA) players and past college basketball stars with local ties.[3][4] 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 allowed many cities to have teams that otherwise wouldn't and cut costs for operating a team. However, many unprepared and under-financed ownership groups would become owners. The result is that each season, many new teams would be created, but many of them would cease operations during 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 over 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 inaugural season.


The 2006-2007 season saw the cost for a new expansion franchise raised to $20,000,[5] but many still sold for $5,000 - $10,000 and less, in some cases going as low as $1.[6][7] 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.[8] 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.[9] 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.[10] 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.[11] 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.[12][13] Another team that only played home games was Beijing Aoshen Olympic. 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.[14]

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.[15] 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.[16]


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.[17] In the summer the league announced the first Haitian pro-basketball team, Haiti International Team (H.I.T.) commanded by Harold Whaley who is also the VP of Special Projects in the ABA, based in South Florida.[18] The league planned to host over 800 games combined amongst the teams.[19]

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.[20] The league will now form the Women's American Basketball Association, a new women's basketball league. It does not relate to the original Women's American Basketball Association, another league which existed for one whole season in 2002.[21] The new league's first squad will be located in Greenville, North Carolina.[22]

Current clubs

Atlantic South Division

Team Location Arena (Capacity)
Atlanta Aliens Doraville, Georgia Forrest Fleming Arena (600)
Atlanta Experience Atlanta, Georgia Clark Atlanta University
Columbus Riverballers Columbus, Georgia Frank J. Lumpkin Jr. Center (4,500)
East Point Jaguars East Point, Georgia Rock Springs Baptist Church
Georgia Gwizzlies Austell, Georgia South Cobb Recreational Center
Gulf Coast Flash Gulfport, Mississippi Gulfport High School
Heartland Heat Avon Park, Florida
Jacksonville Giants Jacksonville, Florida Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena
Mobile Bay Hurricanes Mobile, Alabama Davidson High School
Orlando Kings Orlando, Florida Downtown Recreation Center
Panama City Dream Panama City, Florida
Savannah Storm Savannah, Georgia Savannah High School

California/Northwest Division

Team Location Arena (Capacity)
Alaska Quake Anchorage, Alaska Begich Middle School
Bay Area Matrix Clayton, California Concord-Clayton YMCA
Calgary Crush Calgary, Alberta
California Sea Kings Salinas, California Hartnell College Fieldhouse
East Bay Pit Bulls Livermore, California Las Positas College
Modesto Hawks Modesto, California The Salvation Army
Port City Pirates Stockton, California Stockton Arena
Richmond Rockets Richmond, California Richmond Memorial Auditorium (3,000)
Sacramento Heatwave Folsom, California Folsom High School
San Francisco Rumble San Francisco, California Kezar Pavilion
Seattle Mountaineers Seattle, Washington Green River Community College, Big Picture School, Renton High School
Washington Rampage Marysville, Washington Totem Lake Middle School

Canada Division

Team Location Arena (Capacity)
ABA-Canada Revolution Toronto, Ontario

Colonial Division

Team Location Arena (Capacity)
Lynchburg Legends Lynchburg, Virginia Lynchburg City Armory
Norfolk Sharks Virginia Beach, Virginia Virginia Beach Field House
NoVA Wonders Chantilly, Virginia Northern Virginia Sportsplex
Portsmouth Cavaliers Portsmouth, Virginia Portsmouth Catholic Regional School
Richmond Elite Highland Springs, Virginia Highland Springs High School
Seven City Knights Williamsburg, Virginia Bruton High School
West Virginia Blazers Bluefield, West Virginia Beckley-Raleigh County Convention Center & Bluefield State College

Great Lakes Division

Team Location Arena (Capacity)
Chicago Steam South Holland, Illinois South Suburban College Fieldhouse
Michiana Monarchs South Bend, Indiana
Milwaukee Blast Milwaukee, Wisconsin Wisconsin Lutheran College Gymnasium (2,500)
Porter County Punishers Portage, Indiana

Mid-Atlantic Division

Team Location Arena (Capacity)
Athens Razors Athens, Georgia Clarke Central High School
Carolina Cheetahs Greensboro, North Carolina Fleming Gymnasium (2,320)
Carolina Cougars Rocky Mount, North Carolina Everett Gymnasium (1,200)
Carolina Jaguars Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina McLendon–McDougald Gymnasium (3,050)
East Carolina Trojans Greenville, North Carolina
Fayetteville Flight Fayetteville, North Carolina Cumberland County Crown Coliseum
South Carolina Warriors Myrtle Beach, South Carolina Myrtle Beach Convention Center (8,000)
Tennessee Mad Hatters Johnson City, Tennessee Legion Recreation Center

Mid-Central Division

Team Location Arena (Capacity)
Detroit Hoops Detroit, Michigan Detroit Edison Public School Academy
Gem City Hall O' Famers Dayton, Ohio
Indianapolis Drive Indianapolis, Indiana Imagine Indiana Life Sciences Academy West
Lima Explosion Lima, Ohio Elida High School

Northeast Division

Team Location Arena (Capacity)
Connecticut Topballerz New Haven, Connecticut Cosgrove Marcus Messer Athletic Center
Jersey Express Jersey City, New Jersey Jersey City Armory (3,000)
New York Charters Manhattan, New York Manhattan Center for Science and Mathematics
Staten Island Vipers Staten Island, New York College of Staten Island
Syracuse Shockwave Syracuse, New York

Rocky Mountain Division

Team Location (Capacity)
Colorado Cougars Greeley, Colorado Butler–Hancock Sports Pavilion (4,500)
Colorado Kings Denver, Colorado Green Valley Ranch Elementary School
Colorado Springs Crusaders Colorado Springs, Colorado James Irwin Charter School
Wyoming Roughnecks Gillette, Wyoming

South Central Division

Team Location Arena (Capacity)
Bluff City Reign Olive Branch, Mississippi Olive Branch High School
Clarksville Cavaliers Clarksville, Tennessee
Conway Cyclones Conway, Arkansas Grove Gymnasium (Hendrix College) (1,100)
Delta Storm Helena-West Helena, Arkansas
Little Rock Lightning Little Rock, Arkansas Hall High School
Missouri Rhythm Raytown, Missouri The ROC Fitness & Recreation
Nashville Soul Nashville, Tennessee Various
NEA Swag Jonesboro, Arkansas Various

SoCal Division

Team Location Arena (Capacity)
Arizona Scorpions Phoenix, Arizona Phoenix College
Los Angeles Slam Los Angeles, California TBA
Las Vegas Aces (basketball) Las Vegas, Nevada
Riverside Rainmakers Riverside, California Martin Luther King High School
San Diego Sol San Diego, California Alliant International University
San Diego Surf San Diego, California Hourglass Arena, Miramar College
SoCal Swish Harbor City, California

Southwest Division

Team Location Arena (Capacity)
Dallas Impact Dallas, Texas Lakewest Family YMCA
Houston Red Storm Houston, Texas League America
North Dallas Vandals North Dallas, Texas Alfred J. Loos Fieldhouse
North Texas Fresh Fort Worth, Texas Central High School
Oklahoma Stallions Oklahoma City, Oklahoma Douglass High School
Texas Fuel San Antonio, Texas Alamo Convocation Center
West Texas Whirlwinds Midland, Texas Odessa College

Other Teams Playing

Team Location Arena (Capacity)
Chico Rage Chico, California Travel-Only
Kentucky Crusaders Kentucky Travel-Only
Shizuoka Gymrats Shizuoka, Japan Travel-Only

2012 Announced Expansion

Team Location Arena (Capacity)
Aberdeen Attack Aberdeen, South Dakota
Birmingham, Alabama
Greencastle Golden Knights Greencastle, Indiana South Putnam High School
Lake Charles Corsairs Lake Charles, Louisiana

Defunct teams

Former teams that joined other leagues

Championship Game results

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

Championship Game Appearances by Team

Team Appearances Championships Last Appearance
Southeast Texas Mavericks 2 2 2011
Vermont Frost Heaves 2 2 2008
Kentucky Bisons 2 1 2010
Kansas City Knights 2 1 2004
Rochester Razorsharks 1 1 2006
Arkansas Rimrockers 1 1 2005
Long Beach Jam 1 1 2004
Detroit Dogs 1 1 2001
Gulf Coast Flash 1 0 2011
Maywood Buzz 1 0 2009
San Diego Wildcats 1 0 2008
Texas Tycoons 1 0 2007
SoCal Legends 1 0 2006
Bellevue Blackhawks 1 0 2005
Southern California Surf 1 0 2002
Chicago Skyliners 1 0 2001

Championship Game Winning Percentage by Team

Team Wins Losses  %
Vermont Frost Heaves 2 0 1.000
Southeast Texas Mustangs 2 0 1.000
Detroit Dogs 1 0 1.000
Long Beach Jam 1 0 1.000
Arkansas RimRockers 1 0 1.000
Rochester Razorsharks 1 0 1.000
Kansas City Knights 1 1 .500
Kentucky Bisons 1 1 .500
Chicago Skyliners 0 1 .000
Southern California Surf 0 1 .000
Bellevue Blackhawks 0 1 .000
SoCal Legends 0 1 .000
Texas Tycoons 0 1 .000
San Diego Wildcats 0 1 .000
Maywood Buzz 0 1 .000
Gulf Coast Flash 0 1 .000

All-Star Game results


Player of the Year

Coach of the Year

Executive of the Year

MVP - Championship Game

MVP - All-Star Game

  • 2000-2001 - No All-Star Game
  • 2001-2002 - Maurice Carter, Kansas City Knights
  • 2003-2004 - No All-Star Game
  • 2004-2005 - Lou Kelly, West
  • 2005-2006 - Armen Gilliam, East
  • 2006-2007 - Billy Knight, West
  • 2007-2008 - Anthony Anderson, East

Community Service

  • 2000-2001 - None Announced
  • 2001-2002 - None Announced
  • 2003-2004 - None Announced
  • 2004-2005 - None Announced
  • 2005-2006 - None Announced
  • 2006-2007 - Modie Cox, Buffalo Silverbacks

See also


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

External links

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