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.|