American Basketball League



The American Basketball League was formed by Abe Saperstein who is most famous as the owner of the Harlem Globetrotters.  He believed he had been promised a franchise by the NBA.  When that didn't materialize he formed a competing league.  The ABL only ran for 1.5 years starting in 1961 and ceasing operations in January 1963.

The ABL is interesting for a number of reasons:
1. Innovative rules which included:
   a. The 3 point shot.  The ABL was the first major league to use the 3 point shout.
   b. The international-style key which is wider at the bottom than at the top. 

2. Use of players the NBA wouldn't use
   a. Banned players: Around 50 players were suspended by the NCAA in the late 50's for alleged point shaving.  The NBA would not employ these players.  The ABL did. This include: Connie Hawkins, Tony Jackson, Bill Spivey.  None of these players had any suspicion of cheating later. 
   b. African-American players: In looking over the the ABL rosters and team photos it appears the ABL allowed a lot more African-American players then the NBA did.  I still need to do the statistical analysis to confirm this.

3. Interesting owners 
   A. George Steinbrenner: The Cleveland Pipers franchise was owned by George Steinbrenner of New York   Yankees fame.  In true Steinbrenner fashion, the Pipers won the ABL 1961-62 championships but had two head coaches.  John McLendon was the first African-American to coach a major league team.  He resigned in a dispute with Steinbrenner.  Bill Sharman of the Boston Celtics was hired as his replacement.
   B. Art Kim: Kim owned the Hawaii Chiefs. He moved them to Long Beach in 1962-63. Kim resurface 5 years later as the owner of the ABA's Anaheim Amigos.  The Amigos were a disaster.  Kim's Chiefs were respectable. It is unclear what happened during Kim's ABA stewarship
I like to give a special thanks to Keith Olbermann who encouraged me to add the ABL.  He supplied most of the photos in the ABL section.