The History of the American Basketball League

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With this year book, you get the complete 1961-62 ratings as well as the partially completed 62-63 season ratings. Every player to take the court in the ABL is represented in this year book.

The American Basketball League played one full season, 1961-1962, and part of 1962-1963. The league actually folded on December 31, 1962. The ABL was the first basketball league to have a three point shot for baskets scored far away from the goal.

The league was formed when basketball mogul Abe Saperstein did not get the Los Angeles National Basketball Association (NBA) franchise he felt he had been promised in return for his years of supporting the NBA with doubleheader games featuring his Harlem Globetrotters. When Minneapolis Lakers owner Bob Short was permitted to move the Lakers to Los Angeles, Saperstein reacted by convincing National Alliance of Basketball Leagues (NABL) team owner Paul Cohen (Tuck Tapers) and Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) National Champion Cleveland Pipers owner George Steinbrenner to take the top NABL and AAU teams and players and form a rival league. Saperstein and Cohen each secretly made arrangements with local promoters in the other cities to finance those teams so there would be an eight-team league. Saperstein's ego led him to place the Los Angeles Jets in Los Angeles to take on the transplanted Lakers. He got Bill Sharman as coach and signed former NBA players Larry Friend and George Yardley to give the team instant credibility. The idea backfired and the Jets did not last the season.

The multiple radical changes, combined with uneven attendance (although some teams, such as the Kansas City Steers, drew well), and no fresh capital from new owners, caused Saperstein and Cohen to decide to throw in the towel with the close of 1962 on December 31. Just like that, the league that pioneered the three point shot and the wider foul line (both eventually adopted by the rest of the basketball world) was gone. The Philadelphia Tapers, Kansas City Steers, Hawaii Chiefs, Cleveland Pipers and even the Los Angeles Jets after a time all came back and returned to their NABL roots, where they continue to this day as AAU Elite teams.

TOP ABL Players included Johnny Cox, Larry Friend, Bill Spivey, Roger Kaiser, Jeff Cohen, George Yardley, Larry Siegfried, Ben Warley, Connie Dierking, Bill Bridges, Win Wilfong, Gene Conley, Gene Tormohlen, Fred Sawyer, Bevo Francis, Maurice King (basketball player), Nick Romanoff, Charlie Tyra, Sylvester 'Cy' Blye, Roger Taylor, Rick Herrscher, Frank Burgess, Dick Brott, Archie Dees, Larry Swift, Lee Harman, Phil Wilcox, Connie Hawkins, Bruce Spraggins, and Larry Comley.

This product was added to our catalog on Monday 26 March, 2007.

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