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. Other rules that set the league apart were a 30-second shooting clock and a wider free throw lane —18 feet instead of the standard 12.
The league was formed when basketball mogul
Abe Saperstein did not
get the Los Angeles National
In Cleveland, Steinbrenner's coach was the legendary
John McLendon ,
who became the first
Steinbrenner signed All-American Jerry Lucas to a contract worth $40,000. With the Lucas signing, Steinbrenner had a secret deal with NBA commissioner Maurice Podoloff . The Pipers would merge with the Kansas City Steers and join the NBA. A schedule was printed for the 1963–64 NBA season with the Pipers playing the New York Knicks in the first game. The gambit worked, but the ABL sued to block the move, and as a result Steinbrenner had a team and no league. Instead of returning to the ABL, Steinbrenner folded his tent. This chicanery masked a series of other ABL moves.
Hawaii Chiefs drew well, but other teams felt the air travel was
prohibitive, resulting in scheduling that saw the Eastern teams
playing all of their games in Hawaii within a 5-6 day period and vice
versa. After that first season, the Chiefs relocated to Long Beach,
California . The San Francisco Saints escaped head-to-head competition
with the newly relocated
San Francisco Warriors by heading to Oakland.
Paul Cohen, who secretly owned the Pittsburgh team as well as
officially owning the Tapers, moved the Tapers again from New York,
where they had been an NABL powerhouse for years, to
The 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. 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. After the ABL folded, Steinbrenner had $125,000 in debts and personal losses of $2 million.
ABL players included the following:
* Jack Adams * Dick Barnett * Sylvester "Sy" Blye * Bucky Bolyard * Bill Bridges * Frank Burgess * Jeff Cohen * Kelly Coleman * Gene Conley * Johnny Cox * Connie Dierking * Bevo Francis * Connie Hawkins * Tony Jackson * Roger Kaiser * Maurice King * Herb Lee
* Walt Mangham
* Fred Sawyer
COMPLETE TEAM LIST
* Chicago Majors (1961/62-62/63) * Cleveland Pipers (1961/62) * Kansas City Steers (1961/62-62/63) * Long Beach Chiefs (1961/62-62/63, as Hawaii Chiefs in 1961/62) * Los Angeles Jets (1961/62, disbanded during season)
* Oakland Oaks (1961/62-62/63, as San Francisco Saints in 1961/62)
YEAR WINNER RESULT RUNNER-UP
* ^ Nelson 2013 , p. 17. * ^ Steinbrenner: The Last Lion of Baseball, p.39, Bill Madden, Harper Collins Publishing, New York, 2010, ISBN 978-0-06-169031-0 * ^ Steinbrenner: The Last Lion of Baseball, p.42, Bill Madden, Harper Collins Publishing, New York, 2010, ISBN 978-0-06-169031-0 * ^ Steinbrenner: The Last Lion of Baseball, p.42, Bill Madden, Harper Collins Publishing, New York, 2010, ISBN 978-0-06-169031-0 * ^ Steinbrenner: The Last Lion of Baseball, p.43, Bill Madden, Harper Collins Publishing, New York, 2010, ISBN 978-0-06-169031-0