American Basketball Association (2000–present)

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American Basketball Association (ABA)
Motto"More than just a game"
CountriesUnited States
ContinentNorth America
Most recent
Jacksonville Giants (2019)
Most titlesJacksonville Giants (6)

The American Basketball Association (ABA) is an American semi-professional men's basketball minor league that was founded in 1999.[1]

The ABA has teams based in the United States and has had international teams based in Canada and Mexico. During its history, the league has had traveling teams from countries such as Australia and Japan that have played in the ABA. Additionally, the league has had teams made up of players from a particular country on a team based in the United States; this was done as a way to showcase players from that country in the United States.

The current ABA bears no relation to the original American Basketball Association (1967–1976) that was considered a major league, and merged with the National Basketball Association (NBA) in 1976.


The current ABA was started 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 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.[3][4]

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,[5] but many still sold for $10,000 – $5,000 or less. In some cases, teams were sold for as little as $1.[6][7] 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;[8] 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;[9] 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;[10] 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.[11][12]

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.[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 in early December, including the entire Northwest Division. The league cancelled several playoff games due to the inability of teams to afford travel;[14] 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.[15]


The 2010–11 season was expected to field over 60 teams, including a new Canadian Division.[16] In the summer of 2010, the league announced its first Haitian professional basketball team, the Haitian Relief.[17] In total, the ABA planned to host over 800 games throughout the season.[18]

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 won their second ABA title two games to none over the Gulf Coast Flash.

Despite continued instability, the league announced plans to form a new 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 February 2019 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.[19]

On June 22, 2015, the ABA announced a multi-year partnership with Sports Radio America.[20] "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.[21]

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.[22]


January 2018, ABA Weekly a podcast focused on covering the ABA makes its debut with their first episode covering everything from the Far West Region to the East Region; the podcast is currently led by Brandon Ryan (Host of the podcast), Conor McGill (ABA Insider) and Maggie J-Mazing (Producer).[citation needed]


April 13, 2019, the Jacksonville Giants, win their 4th straight and 6th overall ABA Championship title with a 116–112 win over South Florida Gold.

Current clubs[edit]

Note: ABA teams listed on American Basketball Association (2000–present) website,, as of May 11, 2019. Teams with no scheduled games, very few scheduled games, playing sporadically, or folded are not listed here.

Far West Region[edit]

Team Location Arena
Arizona Beast Chandler, Arizona Chandler Prep Academy
Contra Costa County Delta Stars Antioch, California Antioch Community Center
Hawaii Swish Honolulu, Hawaii Neal S. Blaisdell Center
Henderson Hawks Las Vegas, Nevada Hoop City
Las Vegas Royals Las Vegas, Nevada
Oakland TownHawks Oakland, California McClymonds High School
Oaktown Warriors Hayward, California Chabot College
Orange County Novastars Irvine, California Fullerton Community College
Port Angeles Rams Port Angeles, Washington Peninsula College
Quad City Flames Spanaway, Washington
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 Kezar Pavilion
Seattle Mountaineers Everett, Washington Everett Community College
Seven City Knights Phoenix, Arizona The PHHacility
Shizuoka Gymrats Shizuoka, Japan Travel-only
Team Trouble Stockton, California Stockton Arena
Tacoma Kings Tacoma, Washington
Tucson Buckets Tucson, Arizona Pima Community College
Vancouver Dragons Richmond, BC Richmond Olympic Oval

Mid-Atlantic Region[edit]

Team Location Arena
Baltimore Hawks Baltimore, Maryland St. Frances Academy
Charlotte Rams West Columbia, South Carolina
Fayetteville Flight Fayetteville, North Carolina Highland Gymnasium
Fredericksburg Grizzlies Fredericksburg, Virginia University of Mary Washington–Anderson Center
Greenville Galaxy Greenville, South Carolina Greenville Kroc Center
Hub City Hogs Hagerstown, Maryland St. Maria Goretti High School
Maryland Bulldogz Poolesville, Maryland Poolesville High School
PG Valor Camp Springs, Maryland
RDC Vulcans Raleigh, North Carolina
Reading Wizards Reading, Pennsylvania Southern Middle School
Richmond Elite Richmond, Virginia Big Ben's Home Court
Roanoke Rising Stars Roanoke, Virginia Countryside Sportsplex
Steel City Yellow Jackets Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania A Giving Heart Community Center
Team Perseverance Panthers Sumter, South Carolina YMCA of Sumter
Weirton Widowmakers Weirton, West Virginia
West Virginia Warlocks Shinnston, West Virginia Fox’s Pizza Gym
Winston-Salem Storm Winston-Salem, North Carolina Joel Coliseum Annex
Woodbridge Wolves Prince William County, Virginia Potomac High School

North Central Region[edit]

Team Location Arena
Akron Aviators Akron, Ohio LeBron James Arena
Chicago Fury Chicago, Illinois Salvation Army Red Shield Center
Chicago Knights Lynwood, Illinois Southland Center
Chicago Steam South Holland, Illinois South Suburban College
Illinois Bulldogs Chicago, Illinois Hales Franciscan High School
Indiana Lyons Danville, Indiana Bosstick Gymnasium
La Crosse Showtime La Crosse, Wisconsin La Crosse Center
Lansing Legends Lansing, Michigan Alfreda Schmidt Community Center
Michigan Dare Devils Ann Arbor, Michigan Skyline High School
Team NetWork Detroit, Michigan Romulus Athletic Center
Vipers Pro Basketball Deerfield, Illinois Joy of the Game Sports Center
West Michigan Lake Hawks Muskegon, Michigan Reeths Puffer High School

Northeast Region[edit]

Team Location Arena
Atlantic Coast Cardinals Florida, New York GymRatz Performance
Binghampton Bulldogs Johnson City, New York Davis College
Bronx Holy Flames Bronx, New York Stuy Dome
Central Jersey Sharks Cliffwood, New Jersey Matawan-Aberdeen Middle School
DMV Warriors Woodlawn, Maryland Woodlawn High School (Maryland)
Elite King of Queens Queens, New York Boys & Girls Club of Metro Queens
Elmira Eagles Elmira, New York Chemung County Family Fitness Center
Jersey Express Elizabeth, New Jersey Dunn Sports Center
Lancaster Wolfpack Lancaster, New York First United Methodist Church
LeHigh Valley Hunters Allentown, Pennsylvania
LI Whoshoseballers
NEPA Stars & Stripes Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania GAR Memorial High School
New England Outtatowners Somerville, Massachusetts East Somerville Community School
New York Lightning Bronx, New York Vincent Lombardi Field House
New York/Harlem Underdogs Harlem, New York
Oneonta Octane Oneonta, New York SUNY Oneonta
Philadelphia Cannon Steelton, Pennsylvania Steelton-Highspire High School
Pottstown Flames Pottstown, Pennsylvania Coventry Christian Schools
Roc City Ravens Rochester, New York Thomas P Ryan Recreation Center
Scranton Shamrock Scranton, Pennsylvania Johnson College
Spa City Gamblers Saratoga Springs, New York TBD
Syracuse Stallions Syracuse, New York Manlius Pebble Hill School
Washington (NJ) Senators Washington, New Jersey
Westchester Wildcats Westchester, Pennsylvania
Western Mass Zombies Springfield, Massachusetts South End Community Center
Worcester 78's Worcester, Massachusetts Worcester State University
York Buccaneers York, Pennsylvania Hannah Penn Middle School

South Central Region[edit]

Team Location Arena
Alexandria Armor Alexandria, Louisiana LSUA Fitness Center
Austin Bats Austin, Texas Givens Recreation Center
Dallas Impact Dallas, Texas Lakewest Family YMCA
Houston Red Storm Houston, Texas
Jackson Showboats Jackson, Mississippi Kurts Gym
Kansas City Grillerz Kansas City, Kansas Joe E. Amayo, Argentine Community Center
Kyle Stallions Kyle, Texas Lehman High School
Louisiana Kingdom Riders Lake Charles, Louisiana Hamilton Christian School
Memphis Rhythm Memphis, Tennessee
Missouri Capitals Florissant, Missouri North County Christian School
St. Louis Spirits St. Louis, Missouri Trinity Catholic High School
San Antonio Blaze San Antonio, Texas
Texas Nighthawks Copperas Cove, Texas Camp Triumph Gym
Topeka Sizzlers Topeka, Kansas
Tri-City Allstars Universal City, Texas Northeast Lakeview College
Twin City Jazz Monroe, Louisiana Monroe Civic Center

Southeast Region[edit]

Team Location Arena
Atlanta Aliens East Point, Georgia Jefferson Park Rec Center
Atlanta Rappers Prichard, Alabama Vigor High School
Atlanta Storm Stone Mountain, Georgia Action Sports Academy
Atlanta Wildcats McDonough, Georgia Henry County High School
Central Georgia Rattlers Macon, Georgia Rosa Jackson Center
Florida All-Stars Jacksonville, Florida Jacksonville Sports Complex
Georgia Gwizzlies Atlanta, Georgia C.T. Martin Recreation Center
Jacksonville Giants Jacksonville, Florida VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena
Magic City Surge Birmingham, Alabama Daniel Payne Middle School
Miami 305 Ballers Miami, Florida SLAM Miami T.1
Middle Georgia Pits Dublin, Georgia
Music City Jazz Nashville, Tennessee
Nassau Pride Nassau County, Florida
Pensacola Lightning Pensacola, Florida Booker T. Washington High School
Port City Tornados Mobile, Alabama Vigor High School
River Region Generals Montgomery, Alabama True Divine Baptist Church
St. Augustine Glory St. Augustine, Florida St. Augustine High School
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
Southwest Warriors Atlanta, Georgia Adamsville Recreation Center
Sunrise Jewels Sunrise, Florida
Tri-City Blackhawks Columbus, Georgia
X Freedom Miami, Florida

Defunct teams[edit]

The ABA policy of awarding a franchise to anyone who is willing to pay the ABA franchise fee, with no consideration given to whether the franchisee can afford to operate the team, resulted in over 200 folded franchises as of the beginning of the 2008 season;[23] as of summer 2014, the number was over 350.[24]


Season Champion Runner-up Score(s) Location
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
2010–11 Southeast Texas Mavericks Gulf Coast Flash 114–97, 109–85 Nutty Jerry's Entertainment Complex
2011–12 Jacksonville Giants South Carolina Warriors 106–101, 100–91 Eckerd College
2012–13 Jacksonville Giants North Dallas Vandals 85–84, 110–109 Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena
2013–14 Shreveport-Bossier Mavericks Jacksonville Giants 136–127, 105–103 Hirsch Memorial Coliseum
2014–15 Shreveport-Bossier Mavericks Miami Midnites 109–81, 116–91 Hirsch Memorial Coliseum
2015–16 Jacksonville Giants Windy City Groove 92–80, 93–90 Laredo Energy Arena
2016–17 Jacksonville Giants Windy City Groove 120-102 Woodlawn High School
2017-18 Jacksonville Giants Austin Bats 119-114 Lehman High School
2018-19 Jacksonville Giants South Florida Gold 116-112 St. Louis College of Pharmacy

All-Star Game results[edit]


Player of the Year[edit]

Coach of the Year[edit]

Executive of the Year[edit]

MVP – Championship Game[edit]

MVP – All-Star Game[edit]

Community Service[edit]

Anti-bully program[edit]

Former CEO Joe Newman started Bully-Free ABA! after his grandchildren became victims of bullying.[25] 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.[26] Following the visits, time is usually allowed for the students to interact with the team on the court.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "The ABA". Retrieved 2019-05-10.
  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, archived from the original on 2010-11-28, retrieved 2010-08-17
  7. ^ Becker, Michael (2006-07-26), "Firing Away at the ABA", Los Angeles Times, retrieved 2010-08-17
  8. ^ 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.
  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. ^ "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, archived from the original on 2010-04-29, 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. ^!ABA-ANNOUNCES-NEW-MEDIA-ENTERTAINMENT-DIVISION/clfr/5512181d0cf220353053fa82
  20. ^ ^ "Basketball History: ABA awards Sports Radio America Broadcast Rights". Releasewire. 2015-06-22. Retrieved 2015-06-23
  21. ^ ^!ABA-PARTNERS-WITH-LIVESPORTSCASTER-AND-WatchIDSN/clfr/5615646e0cf27d786fdbd98b "ABA PARTNERS WITH LIVESPORTSCASTER AND WatchIDSN". 2015-10-09. Retrieved 2015-10-18
  22. ^ "New ABA franchise, Hawaii Swish, to debut in February". KHON. Honolulu. January 16, 2017. Retrieved January 17, 2017.
  23. ^ "Dead Balls". December 3, 2008.
  24. ^ "American Basketball Association: Stranger Than Fiction". North Pole Hoops. Retrieved 4 August 2014.
  25. ^ "Bully-Free ABA!". Staten Island Vipers. Archived from the original on 2013-11-05. Retrieved 29 August 2013.
  26. ^ Mosher, Terry (November 13, 2012). "Admirals' Koebelin ready to fight bullying". Kitsap Sun. Retrieved 29 August 2013.

External links[edit]