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.
|Calgary 88's||Calgary, Alberta||Olympic Saddledome||1988–1992|
|Chicago Express||Chicago, Illinois||Rosemont Horizon||1988||Moved to Springfield, Illinois following the 1988 season.|
|Dayton Wings||Dayton, Ohio||Ervin J. Nutter Center||1991–1992||Team folded July 31, 1992.|
|Erie Wave||Erie, Pennsylvania||Louis J. Tullio Center||1990–1992||Team folded July 20, 1992.|
|Florida Jades||Boca Raton, Florida||Florida Atlantic University Arena||1991–1992||Team folded June 15, 1992.|
|Fresno Flames||Fresno, California||Selland Arena||1988|
|Halifax Windjammers||Halifax, Nova Scotia||Halifax Metro Centre||1991–1992||Joined the National Basketball League for 1993.|
|Hamilton Skyhawks||Hamilton, Ontario||Copps Coliseum||1992||Joined the National Basketball League for 1993.|
|Illinois Express||Springfield, Illinois||Prairie Capital Convention Center||1989–1990|
|Jacksonville Stingrays||Jacksonville, Florida||Jacksonville Coliseum||1992||Team folded June 15, 1992.|
|Las Vegas Silver Streaks||Las Vegas, Nevada||Thomas & Mack Center||1988–1990||Moved to Nashville following 1991 season.|
|Memphis Rockers||Memphis, Tennessee||Mid-South Coliseum||1990–1991|
|Nashville Stars||Nashville, Tennessee||Nashville Municipal Auditorium||1991|
|Saskatchewan Storm||Saskatoon, Saskatchewan||Saskatchewan Place||1990–1992||Joined 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||1992||Joined the National Basketball League for 1993.|
|Worcester Counts||Worcester, Massachusetts||Worcester Centrum||1989|
|Youngstown Pride||Youngstown, Ohio||Beeghly Center||1988–1992|
|Abruzzo All-Stars||Abruzzo, Italy||1992|
|Bahamas Nationals||The Bahamas||1992|
|Kyiv All-Stars||Kyiv, Ukraine||1992|
This award was established in 1991.
This award was established in 1991.
|1988||Jamie Waller, 26.7||David Boone, 9.8||Mark Wade, 12.8||Mark Wade, 1.8||Andre 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, 2.4||John Hegwood, 1.3|
|1991||Jamie Waller, 26.3||Willie Bland, 12.3||Mark Wade, 8.7||Darryl McDonald, 2.5||Willie Glass, 1.7|
These players played at least 1 game in the NBA
These players have won at least 1 individual award while playing in professional leagues
The Women's Professional Basketball League was a professional women's basketball league in the United States. The league played three seasons from the fall of 1978 to the spring of 1981. The league was the first professional women's basketball league in the United States.
The Continental Basketball Association (CBA) was a men's professional basketball minor league in the United States from 1946 to 2009.
The TVS Television Network, or TVS for short, is a syndicator of American sports programming. It was one of several "occasional" national television networks that sprang up in the early-to-mid-1960s to take advantage of the establishment of independent television stations and relaxation of the AT&T Long Lines usage rates.
The Major Indoor Soccer League (MISL), known in its final two seasons as the Major Soccer League, was an indoor soccer league in the United States that played matches from fall 1978 to spring 1992.
Gerard Gallant is a Canadian ice hockey coach and former player. He has served as the head coach for the Vegas Golden Knights, Columbus Blue Jackets, and Florida Panthers of the National Hockey League (NHL).
The Las Vegas Wranglers were a professional ice hockey team based in Las Vegas Valley. The Wranglers were members of the Pacific Division of the Western Conference of the ECHL. The Wranglers were founded as an expansion franchise in 2003 following the ECHL's takeover of the West Coast Hockey League.
James Allen Les is an American basketball coach and former player who is the current head coach of the UC Davis Aggies men's basketball team. A former point guard, Les played seven seasons in the National Basketball Association (NBA) after his colege career at Bradley University.
Haywoode Wilvon Workman is an American former basketball player who is a referee in the National Basketball Association (NBA).
The Bakersfield Jammers, known originally as the San Jose Jammers, were an American professional basketball team that were members of the Continental Basketball Association (CBA) from 1989 to 1992. Originally based in San Jose, California, the team relocated to Bakersfield, California for their final season.
NBA Entertainment is the production arm of the National Basketball Association and produces many NBA-related films including team championship videos and blooper and entertainment reels. It used to be associated with CBS/Fox Video before changing its distribution partner to Warner Bros..
The Youngstown Pride was a professional basketball team that competed in the World Basketball League during the late 1980s and early 1990s. Based in Youngstown, Ohio, the Pride was established in 1987 by Phar-Mor executive Michael I. Monus and performed well during its five-year lifespan. They were one of only three teams to ever win a WBL championship.
The Quad City Thunder were a Continental Basketball Association franchise that was based in the Quad Cities of Illinois and Iowa. They played in the CBA from the 1987–88 season until the CBA folded in 2001. The Thunder were successful on the court, capturing CBA championships in the 1993–94 and 1997–98 seasons, and runner-up in the 1990–91 season. The Thunder played in Moline, Illinois, first at Wharton Field House before moving to the new MARK of the Quad Cities in 1993.
The Calgary 88's was a professional basketball franchise based in Calgary, Alberta, from 1988 to 1992. The team played in the World Basketball League. The 1992 season saw the league fold before the season was completed.
The Chicago Express was a professional basketball franchise based in Chicago, Illinois. The team was one of the original franchises of the World Basketball League, which began play in 1988. Michael Jordan, younger brother of Express star Larry Jordan, was a player in the National Basketball Association, primarily for the Chicago Bulls. The Express advanced to the WBL championship game in 1988, losing to the Las Vegas Silver Streaks 102-95 on September 9, 1988.
The Dayton Wings were a professional basketball franchise based in Dayton, Ohio, from 1991–1992. They entered the World Basketball League in 1991 as an expansion team. They finished the 1991 season as the WBL champions, defeating Calgary in the final. They were leading the Southern Division in 1992 when the league folded mid-season.
The Saskatchewan Storm were a professional basketball franchise based in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan from 1990 until 1992. The team played in the World Basketball League. When the WBL folded, the owners of the Canadian franchises formed the National Basketball League, which was formed in 1993 and lasted for a season and a half before also folding. The ownership of the Storm franchise decided to rename their franchise in the new league, so the Storm became the Saskatoon Slam.
The Las Vegas Silver Streaks were a professional basketball franchise based in Las Vegas, Nevada from 1988-1990. The team played its inaugural seasons in the World Basketball League before folding. The Silver Streaks won the first World Basketball League championship in 1988, defeating the Chicago Express 102-95 in the title game. They were one of only three teams to ever win a WBL championship. Creation of a league franchise team for Las Vegas, NV was facilitated by former Oakland A's executive Fred Kuenzi. He stayed on and served as a General Manager and promotions director for season 1.
The Nashville Stars was a professional basketball franchise based in Nashville, Tennessee, in 1991. The team played its inaugural season in the World Basketball League (WBL) before folding. The Stars played their home games at the Nashville Municipal Auditorium. The franchise was originally known as the Las Vegas Silver Streaks (1988–1990) before relocating for the 1991 season.
Barry Mitchell is an American former professional basketball player.