December 29, 1999
While the WNBA moved slowly toward formation, three public relations executives announced in the spring of 1996 they had formed the the American Basketball League and had signed seven members of the gold-medal winning '96 U.S. women's Olympic team. The ABL launched its first season in 1996-97, but TV viewers had to hunt to find ABL telecasts.
May 5, 1999 |
When the WNBA's ABL-loaded draft was over Tuesday morning, Los Angeles Spark Coach Orlando Woolridge looked around and said he didn't see anyone who looked healthier than his team. "Yeah, I feel we had the best draft, but I'm biased," he said, "and I know a lot of teams got better. But I'm really excited about how this came out for us." The Sparks, picking fourth in the first round, chose one of the premier defenders in women's basketball, DeLisha Milton.
May 4, 1999 |
By noon today, women's pro basketball will have made a sudden pivot in the low post and executed a slam dunk. Finally, after having been divided for more than three years, all the world's best women players will be in one league. The WNBA will conduct a telephonic draft today that will probably never be equaled in depth of talent and experience.
December 24, 1998 |
There is still one women's professional basketball league, which is one more than when Kristin Clark and Adrain Williams started college. But it's never good news when you're a senior in college and almost half of the jobs in your desired profession disappear. That's one ramification of the demise of the nine-team American Basketball League. Just like that, there are 90 fewer women's basketball roster spots in this country. It's the WNBA or pack your bags and grab your passport.
December 23, 1998 |
Bill McGillis, former general manager of American Basketball League teams in Long Beach and Columbus, had this thought Tuesday, after it was announced the ABL had shut down: "I'll tell you one thing for sure: There'll be a lot of WNBA players out of work next summer." But one prominent player agent, Bruce Levy, said he'd be surprised if the WNBA loads up its rosters with ABL players. "They may want to be careful how many ABL players they sign," he said.
December 23, 1998 |
The American Basketball League, hemorrhaging money with its $900,000-a-year payrolls for each of its nine teams, announced Tuesday it was closing down. The league's board decided late Monday to suspend operations and file a voluntary Chapter 11 bankruptcy petition "to ensure an orderly liquidation of the league." The ABL died after 2 1/3 seasons of top-flight women's pro basketball, most observers rating the league superior in talent to the rival, richer WNBA.