World Basketball League

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World Basketball League (WBL) was a minor professional basketball league in the United States and Canada that ran from 1988 to 1992. It was founded as the International Basketball Association in November 1987, before changing its name prior to the 1988 season. One of the major differences between it and other leagues was that it had a height restriction. Players over 6 ft 5 in (1.95 m) were not allowed to play; this restriction was raised to 6 ft 7 in (2.0 m) in 1991.


Basketball Hall-of-Famer and Boston Celtic great Bob Cousy (6'1" tall) was one of the league's founders. Norm Drucker, a 25-year veteran referee with the National Basketball Association and American Basketball Association, and a former supervisor of officials for the NBA, served as the WBL's supervisor of officiating. One of the league's founders, Michael Monus, was eventually convicted of having embezzled $10 million to finance the league, from a privately owned company he had founded, Phar-Mor. He was sentenced to 11 years in federal prison.

In addition to games against other teams in the league, games were also played against international teams. The league had several of its games broadcast on television. In Canada, the games were broadcast on the CanWest Global System. In the United States, the games were broadcast on SportsChannel America. Mike Rice was the primary analyst for the SportsChannel broadcasts.

After the league folded in 1992, the surviving Canadian-based teams formed the National Basketball League. This league played two seasons before it folded as well.

Teams [1]

Calgary 88's Calgary, Alberta Olympic Saddledome 19881992
Chicago Express Chicago, Illinois Rosemont Horizon 1988Moved to Springfield, Illinois following the 1988 season.
Dayton Wings Dayton, Ohio Ervin J. Nutter Center 19911992Team folded July 31, 1992.
Erie Wave Erie, Pennsylvania Louis J. Tullio Center 19901992Team folded July 20, 1992.
Florida Jades Boca Raton, Florida Florida Atlantic University Arena 19911992Team folded June 15, 1992.
Fresno Flames Fresno, California Selland Arena 1988
Halifax Windjammers Halifax, Nova Scotia Halifax Metro Centre 19911992Joined the National Basketball League for 1993.
Hamilton Skyhawks Hamilton, Ontario Copps Coliseum 1992Joined the National Basketball League for 1993.
Illinois Express Springfield, Illinois Prairie Capital Convention Center 19891990
Jacksonville Stingrays Jacksonville, Florida Jacksonville Coliseum 1992Team folded June 15, 1992.
Las Vegas Silver Streaks Las Vegas, Nevada Thomas & Mack Center 19881990Moved to Nashville following 1991 season.
Memphis Rockers Memphis, Tennessee Mid-South Coliseum 19901991
Nashville Stars Nashville, Tennessee Nashville Municipal Auditorium 1991
Saskatchewan Storm Saskatoon, Saskatchewan Saskatchewan Place 19901992Joined the National Basketball League in 1993. Franchise name changed by ownership to the "Saskatoon Slam."
Vancouver Nighthawks Vancouver, British Columbia BC Place 1988
Winnipeg Thunder Winnipeg, Manitoba Winnipeg Arena 1992Joined the National Basketball League for 1993.
Worcester Counts Worcester, Massachusetts Worcester Centrum 1989
Youngstown Pride Youngstown, Ohio Beeghly Center 19881992

International Teams

Abruzzo All-Stars Abruzzo, Italy 1992
Bahamas Nationals The Bahamas 1992
Estonian Nationals Estonia 1992
Kyiv All-Stars Kyiv, Ukraine 1992
Soviet Union USSR 19891991

Champions of WBL


WBL Championship MVP

Player of the Year

This award was established in 1991.

Rookie of the Year

This award was established in 1991.

Sixth Man of the Year

Coach of the Year

Statistical leaders

1988 Jamie Waller, 26.7David Boone, 9.8 Mark Wade, 12.8 Mark Wade, 1.8Andre Patterson, 2.2
1989 Jamie Waller, 21.7 Alfredrick Hughes, 11.5 Cedric Hunter, 11.0 Darryl Johnson, 1.9 Perry Young, 1.3
1990 Jamie Waller, 26.5 Vincent Askew, 9.8 Mark Wade, 11.5 Andre Turner, 2.4John Hegwood, 1.3
1991 Jamie Waller, 26.3 Willie Bland, 12.3 Mark Wade, 8.7 Darryl McDonald, 2.5 Willie Glass, 1.7

Notable players

NBA players

These players played at least 1 game in the NBA

Other leagues

These players have won at least 1 individual award while playing in professional leagues

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  1. WBL Stats
  2. Dayton had the best record overall with 26 wins and only 7 losses