Updated 01/15/02
ABL History


Welcome To the ABL Tribute:

This page is dedicated to the founders, players coaches and fans of the American Basketball League. Debuting ahead of the WNBA, the ABL was the first women's team sports league that was truly a major league.

This site will continually be updated with news, images, facts and player information.

If you have any information, stats, images, stories, what ever to contribute to this site, please don't hesitate to e-mail us at cmccollum_2000@yahoo.com.

The ABL offered a true major league to women's team sports.

In October 1996 the ABL debuted in Hartford; Richmond, VA.; Atlanta; Seattle; Portland; Denver; San Jose and Columbus, OH. All eight franchises were owned and ran by the league. The league was owned by the founders of the league, Gary Cavalli, Anne Cribbs, Steve Hams and Bobby Johnson.

The league's first season had to be called a success. The League had major corporate sponsors in Reebok, First USA National Bank, Lady Foot Locker, Nike, Baden and others. The founders were hoping to average about 3,000 per games, league wide. The first weekend of games saw attendance range from 4,500 to 9,000 and after the first month of games, only Columbus was below the 3,000 average. New England (Hartford) lead attendance with over 5,300. At the end of the first season, the ABL awarded an expansion franchise to Long Beach and the Richmond Rage moved to Philadelphia.

The second ABL season was a real test for the league. With the success of the WNBA in the summer of 1997, the ABL needed to show everyone they were just as good, if not better. The opening game of the season, featuring New England and Atlanta, drew a record 12,683 fans to the Hartford Civic Center. Things were looking good for the league. Attendance was up 23% league wide. The ABL also granted expansion franchises to Chicago and Nashville.

The ABL's third season proved to be its last. The Atlanta and Long Beach franchises had ceases operations earlier in the year and then abruptly, on December 22nd, 1998, the league folded and files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

Despite offering much higher salaries (ABL avg. $70,000 // WNBA avg. $15,000+), the ABL just couldn't compete against the NBA backed WNBA. They a small TV package with Fox Sports Net and 2 championship games on CBS.

ABL Timeline:

    (02/1995) - The first meeting of cofounders Steve Hams, Anne Cribbs and Gary Cavalli to discuss a prospective women's pro league.

    (09/1995) - The ABL formally announces plans for the league at a San Jose, CA. news conference.

    (06/1996) - the ABL has its inaugural draft.

    (07/1996) - SportsChannel announces a TV deal with the ABL.

    (09/17/1996) - Olympic track & field star Jackie Joyner-Kersee joins the Richmond Rage.

    (10/18/1996) - Inaugural game played, Atlanta at San Jose.

    (03/11/1997) - Columbus Quest wins the first ABL title.

    (04/15/1997) - The ABL expands to Long Beach, CA.

    (04/28/1997) - Connecticut star Kara Wolters signs a three-year deal.

    (05/13/1997) - NBA Hall of Famer K.C. Jones is named coach of the New England Blizzard.

    (07/03/1997) - The ABL Champions Columbus Quest visit first lady Hillary Clinton at the White House.

    (07/21/1997) - The Richmond Rage move to Philadelphia.

    (09/09/1997) - Fox Sports Net announces TV deal with ABL.

    (10/08/1997) - ABL announces stock option plan that allows players to own 10% of the league.

    (10/12/1997) - Second ABL season opens.

    (01/23/1998) - New England sets final ABL Attendance record of 15,418.

    (02/17/1998) - ABL finishes the second season with a 23% increase in attendance.

    (03/15/1998) - Columbus Quest wins second consecutive title.

    (03/19/1998) - Atlanta Glory move; roster is split among the incoming expansion teams.

    (04/08/1998) - Chicago Condors announced at expansion franchise.

    (04/09/1998) - Nashville Noise announced as expansion franchise.

    (04/17/1998) - Olympian Anne Donovan is named Philadelphia Rage coach.

    (05/14/1998) - Former NBA coach Jim Cleamons is named the Chicago Condors coach.

    (08/26/1998) - Long Beach Stingrays franchise folds.

    (11/05/1998) - The ABL begins its third season.

    (12/22/1998) - The ABL announces it is filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection and folds.

League Officers

  • ABL VP - Gary Cavalli

  • CFO - Anne Rockhold

  • Communications - Laura Paquelet

  • Councel - Todd Sharinn


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