American Basketball Association (2000–present)

For other uses of "ABA", see ABA (disambiguation).
American Basketball Association (ABA)
Sport Basketball
Founded 1999
Motto "More than just a game"
No. of teams 84
Countries United States
Continent North America
Most recent
Jacksonville Giants (2015–16)
Most titles Shreveport-Bossier Mavericks (4)
Official website

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 partially 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 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.[2][3]

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 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 for 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 cost for a new expansion franchise raised to $20,000,[4] but many still sold for 10,000 - 5,000 or less. In some cases, teams were sold for as little 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] 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.[8] 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.[9] 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.[10][11]

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.[12]

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 in early December, including the entire Northwest Division. The league cancelled several playoff games due to the inability of teams to afford travel.[13] The playoffs ended with Southeast Texas Mustangs defeating the Kentucky Bisons in a three-game series.

On April 25, 2010, as part of their ABA Global Initiative, the league hosted the 2010 ABA Friendship Games, in which the Philippine National Basketball Team competed against several ABA teams.[14]


The 2010–11 season was expected to field over 60 teams, including a new Canadian Division.[15] In the summer of 2010, the league announced its first Haitian professional basketball team, the Haitian Relief.[16] In total, the ABA planned to host over 800 games throughout the season.[17]

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.



March 23, 2015 the ABA announced the launch of a new Media & Entertainment Division to be headed by hip hop mogul & ABA team owner Antjuan "Tjuan Benafactor" Washington.[18]

On June 22, 2015, the ABA announced a multi-year partnership with Sports Radio America.[19] "The ABA on SRA Game of the Week" will showcase some of the best matchups in the ABA.

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.[20]

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.

Current clubs

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

Far West Division

Team Location Arena
Arizona Scorpions Glendale, Arizona Glendale Community College
Las Vegas Joker Las Vegas, Nevada Travel-only
Orange County Novastars Irvine, California Fullerton Community College
San Diego Surf San Diego, California Miramar College
Tucson Buckets Tucson, Arizona
Yuba City Gold Miners Yuba City, California River Valley High School

Florida Division

Team Location Arena
Daytona Beach Sharks Daytona Beach, Florida
Georgia Kingz Augusta, Georgia Academy of Richmond County
Jacksonville Giants Jacksonville, Florida Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena
Miami Midnites Miami, Florida David Posnack Jewish Community Center
Native Pride Miami, Florida Broward College
South Florida Gold Fort Lauderdale, Florida
Southcoast Fire Savannah, Georgia

Georgia Division

Team Location Arena
Atlanta Aliens Atlanta, Georgia
Atlanta Wildcats Brookhaven, Georgia Lynnwood Recreation Center
Columbus Blackhawks Columbus, Georgia
Southwest Fellowship Warriors Lithonia, Georgia

Great Plains Division

Team Location Arena
Colorado Kings Lakewood, Colorado Whitlock Recreation Center
Kansas City Soul Kansas City, Kansas
Sioux City Hornets Sioux City, Iowa
Topeka Aviators Topeka, Kansas
Tulsa Twisters Tulsa, Oklahoma

Salina Saints

Gulf Coast Division

Team Location Arena
Georgia Gwizzlies Atlanta, Georgia
Jackson Showboats Jackson, Mississippi Kurtz Gym
Mobile Bay Tornados Mobile, Alabama

Mid-Atlantic Division

Team Location Arena
Carolina Coyotes Durham, North Carolina
Charleston City Lions Charleston, South Carolina
Charlotte Dynasty Charlotte, North Carolina
Fayetteville Flight Fayetteville, North Carolina Crown Coliseum
Fredericksburg Grizzlies Fredericksburg, Virginia University of Mary Washington Anderson Center
Greenville Galaxy Greenville, South Carolina
Hampton Roads Stallions Norfolk, Virginia
Richmond Elite Highland Springs, Virginia Highland Springs High School

Midwest Division

Team Location Arena
Chicago Fury Chicago, Illinois Salvation Army Red Shield Center
Chicago Steam South Holland, Illinois South Suburban College
Libertyville Vipers Deerfield, Illinois Joy of the Game
Northern Indiana Monarchs South Bend, Indiana KROC Center
Windy City Groove Chicago, Illinois Quest Multisport

North Central Division

Team Location Arena
Detroit Coast II Coast All-Stars Detroit, Michigan Cass Technical High School
Flint-Vehicle City Chargers Flint, Michigan New Standard Academy
Grand Rapids Danger Grand Rapids, Michigan
Lansing Sting Lansing, Michigan
Oakland County Cowboys Walled Lake, Michigan
Team NetWork Detroit, Michigan Romulus Athletic Center
West Michigan Lake Hawks Muskegon, Michigan Muskegon Heights Academy
Kalamazoo Cobras Kalamazoo, Michigan

Northeast Division #1

Team Location Arena
Baltimore Hawks Baltimore, Maryland
Brooklyn SkyRockets Brooklyn, New York
DMV Warriors Gwynn Oak, Maryland
Jersey Express Jersey City, New Jersey
York Buccaneers York, Pennsylvania

Northeast Division #2

Team Location Arena
Bronx Holy Flames Bronx, New York
New York Court Kings Queens

South Central Division

Team Location Arena
Bowling Green Bandits Bowling Green, Kentucky E.A. Diddle Arena
Mid-South Echos Memphis, Tennessee Millington High School
Steel City Yellow Jackets Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania GreenTree Sportsplex

Southwest Division 1

Team Location Arena
Dallas Impact Dallas, Texas
Metroplex Lightning Dallas, Texas
Texarkana Panthers Waldo, Arkansas
Texas Cagers Dallas, Texas
Texas Sky Riders Waco, Texas
West Texas Whirlwinds Midland, Texas

Southwest Division 2

Team Location Arena
Austin Boom Austin, Texas
Laredo Swarm Laredo, Texas Laredo Energy Arena
Texas Fuel San Antonio, Texas
Texas Red Wolves Waco, Texas

At-Large Division

Team Location Arena
Hawaii Hammerheads Honolulu, Hawaii
Salina Saints Salina, Kansas Bicentennial Center
Shizuoka Gymrats Shizuoka, Japan Travel-only
Sioux City Hornets Sioux City, Iowa Whirling Thunder Wellness Center

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 franchisee can afford to operate the team or not, resulted in over 200 folded franchises as of the beginning of the 2008 season.[21] As of summer 2014, the number was over 350.[22]


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.
Season 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
2014–15 Shreveport-Bossier Mavericks Miami Midnites 109-81, 116-91 Hirsch Memorial Coliseum Best-of 3
2015–16 Jacksonville Giants Windy City Groove 92-80, 93-90 Laredo Energy Arena 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

Main article: Bully-Free ABA!

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. - Home of the American Basketball Association
  9. George, Rachel (2007-03-24). "Sea Dawgs are unlikely hosts". Wilmington Star News. Retrieved 2008-05-21.
  10. "Premier Basketball League Welcomes Vermont Frost Heaves And Manchester Millrats". Our Sports Central. 2008-05-09. Retrieved 2008-05-09.
  11. "Quebec Kebs Join Premier Basketball League". Our Sports Central. 2008-05-21. Retrieved 2008-05-21.
  12. Walling, Alex (2008-03-28). "ABA stands for Amateur Basketball Association". Retrieved 2008-09-09.
  13. Clark, Ryan S. (2010-03-18), SETX Mavericks' playoff opponent forfeits game, Beaumont Enterprise, retrieved 2010-07-14
  14. Navarro, June (2010-04-27), Smart Gilas five nips San Diego, Philippine Daily Inquirer, retrieved 2010-07-14
  15. ABA Returns To Canada In 2011, American Basketball Association, 2010-08-04, archived from the original on 23 August 2010, retrieved 2010-08-17
  16. ABA Announced Haitian expansion team
  17. ABA season schedule
  19. ^ "Basketball History: ABA awards Sports Radio America Broadcast Rights". Releasewire. 2015-06-22. Retrieved 2015-06-23
  20. ^!ABA-PARTNERS-WITH-LIVESPORTSCASTER-AND-WatchIDSN/clfr/5615646e0cf27d786fdbd98b "ABA PARTNERS WITH LIVESPORTSCASTER AND WatchIDSN". 2015-10-09. Retrieved 2015-10-18
  21. "Dead Balls". December 3, 2008.
  22. "American Basketball Association: Stranger Than Fiction". North Pole Hoops. Retrieved 4 August 2014.
  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.

External links

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