Global Basketball Association

The Global Basketball Association (GBA) was a professional basketball minor league based in the United States. The majority of the league's franchises were based in the Southern United States, with the remaining teams located in the Midwest. The league announced plans for franchises in European cities that never materialized. The league began play in 1991 and lasted one and a half seasons before folding in December 1992.

Global Basketball Association (GBA)
Global Basketball Association logo.jpg
FoundedMarch 1991
CeasedDecember 1992
Owner(s)Ted Stepien
CommissionerMike Storen (1991–92)
Ted Stepien (1992)
No. of teams8–11
CountryUnited States
Most titlesMusic City Jammers (1992)


When the league was announced in 1991, league officials said there would be franchises around the world, hence the name "Global Basketball Association" (GBA). The league was owned and founded by Ted Stepien, the owner of the Cleveland Cavaliers from 1980 to 1983.[1] Two international teams were announced: Tallinn, Soviet Union (now Estonia) and San Marino. The team from the Soviet Union was KK Kalev, which was a professional basketball team founded in 1920.[2] The four American teams announced were Greensboro, North Carolina; Raleigh, North Carolina; Nashville, Tennessee and Greenville, South Carolina.[3] Vilvoorde, Belgium and Évry, France were later awarded GBA franchises.[4]

Mike Storen, who served as commissioner of the American Basketball Association from 1973 to 1975, was named commissioner of the GBA. The league announced a 64-game schedule in from November 1991 to March 1992, followed by a playoff for the league championship.[5] To distinguish itself from other basketball leagues, the GBA used a white basketball, which was manufactured by MacGregor.[6][7]

In May 1991, the GBA awarded a charter franchise to Huntsville, Alabama.[8] The GBA merged Pro Basketball USA, another fledgling basketball minor league, in August 1991. The GBA adopted six of Pro Basketball USA's franchises: the Albany Sharp Shooters, the Louisville Shooters, the Memphis HotShots, the Fayetteville Flyers, the Mid-Michigan Great Lakers and the Wichita Outlaws.[9]

The GBA draft was held on August 3, 1991 in Atlanta, Georgia. It was broken-up into three rounds. The first found was the territorial round where teams were limited to selecting players within a 100-mile radius. In the second round, teams could only draft free agents. The third and final round was the collegiate draft, where teams could pick players from colleges across the United States.[10] The Greensboro City Gaters selected Keith Gatlin with the first overall pick in the draft.[11]

By the start of the 1991–92 season in November 1991, the GBA only had franchises based in the United States. League officials said the international teams would begin play in the 1992–93 season.[12] The Mid-Michigan Great Lakers let people attend the first few games for free, which attracted around 3,000 attendees per game. When the Great Lakers started charging for tickets, the team averaged 200 attendees.[13] The Music City Jammers were last in attendance, averaging 300 people per game.[14] They played a game on February 2, 1992 at the 11,000 seat Nashville Municipal Auditorium, which had a total attendance (including the players, referees and statisticians) of 136.[15]

The Louisville Shooters in October 1991 announced plans for a $125,000 to $175,000 marketing campaign to advertise the GBA's inaugural season. The firm Bridgemon, James & Shawver Advertising Inc.—who also worked on marketing for the Louisville Redbirds professional baseball team—was contracted to run the campaign which consisted of newspaper ads, television and radio ads and a 30-minute infomercial on WAVE (TV).[16] By February 1992, team owner Jim Tilton told Business First-Louisville the Shooters were facing "a pretty heavy loss" and he was seeking a new line of credit to keep the team afloat. The team had sold 150 season tickets and were averaging 2,250 attendees per game. A deal to sell the Shooters to an ownership group led by David Gleason fell through.[17] By mid-March 1992, the Shooters had their telephone service shut off for failed payment. On March 31, 1992, the office furniture at the team's headquarters was repossessed. The team also had to forfeit their first round playoff series against the Mid-Michigan Great Lakers due to failure to pay rent on their home venue, Louisville Gardens. As of April 1992, the Slammers owed $23,000 in back rent to the Louisville Gardens owners.[18]

After the 1991–92 season, GBA commissioner Mike Storen announced he was stepping away from the league to focus on his sports marketing business.[19]

David Gleason, who attempted to purchase the Louisville Shooters in February 1992, eventually purchased the franchise from Jim Tilton. Gleason said the purchase did not include the legal obligation for $300,000 in outstanding debts owed by Tilton, however, Gleason still had to pay the debts as he wanted his debtors services. He had to settle his account with Bridgemon, James & Shawver Advertising Inc. before they would agree to continue working for the team. When they did settle the debt, the advertising firm only agreed to work on an hourly rate and would no longer let debts accrue. Gleason came to an agreement that let him continue to use Louisville Gardens as the team's home venue.[20] The Shooters folded after three games into the 1992–93 season. The league itself disbanded in December 1992.[21]


Sharp Shooters
Great Lakers
Locations of Global Basketball Association teams
→ denotes that a team was relocated and/or renamed, (YEAR)§ denotes team never played

Venues and locationsEdit

Venue Location Team Ref
Albany Civic Center
Albany, Georgia Albany Sharp Shooters (1991–92)
SouthGA Blues (1992–93)
Century II Convention Hall Wichita, Kansas Wichita Outlaws [21]
Cumberland County Civic Center Fayetteville, North Carolina Fayetteville Flyers [21]
Dorton Arena Raleigh, North Carolina Raleigh Bullfrogs [21]
Five Seasons Center Cedar Rapids, Iowa Cedar Rapids Sharpshooters [21]
Greensboro Coliseum Complex Greensboro, North Carolina Greensboro City Gaters [21]
Greenville Memorial Auditorium Greenville, South Carolina Greenville Spinners [21]
Louisville Gardens Louisville, Kentucky Louisville Shooters [21]
Mid-South Coliseum Memphis, Tennessee Memphis HotShots [21]
Mississippi Coast Coliseum Biloxi, Mississippi Mississippi Coast Sharks [21]
Nashville Municipal Auditorium Nashville, Tennessee Music City Jammers [21]
Oman Arena Jackson, Tennessee Jackson Jammers [21]
Pensacola Civic Center Pensacola, Florida Pensacola HotShots [21]
Von Braun Civic Center Huntsville, Alabama Huntsville Lasers [21]
Wendler Arena Saginaw, Michigan Mid-Michigan Great Lakers [21]

Season standingsEdit

1991–92 seasonEdit

Team Wins L W GB Head coach Ref
Eastern Division
Fayetteville Flyers 41 23 .641 Kevin Mackey [21][24]
Greenville Spinners 36 28 .562 5 Joe Williams [21][25]
Albany Sharp Shooters 35 29 .547 6 Mauro Panaggio [21][26]
Greensboro City Gaters 30 33 .476 10.5 Ed McLean [21][22]
Raleigh Bullfrogs 28 35 .444 12.5 Monte Towe [21]
Western Division
Mid-Michigan Great Lakers 42 22 .656 Cazzie Russell [21]
Louisville Shooters 35 29 .547 7 Johnny Neumann [21]
Huntsville Lasers 33 31 .516 9 Jim Sleeper [21][27]
Music City Jammers 24 40 .375 18 Tommy Smith [21][28]
Pensacola HotShots 24 40 .375 18 Dana Kirk [21][29]
Wichita Outlaws 23 41 .359 19 Keith Fowler [21][30]

1991–92 playoffsEdit

GBA First Round GBA Semifinals GBA Finals
1 Fayetteville Flyers 1
7 Greensboro City Gaters 0
1 Fayetteville Flyers
3 Greenville Spinners
3 Greenville Spinners 0
4 Albany Sharpshooters 0
3 Greenville Spinners 2
8 Music City Jammers 4
2 Michigan Great Lakers 0
4 Louisville Shooters 0
2 Michigan Great Lakers 3
8 Music City Jammers 4
6 Huntsville Lasers 1
8 Music City Jammers 2
Finals game-by-game results
  • Greenville 128, Music City 126
  • Music City 100, Greenville 94
  • Greenville 114, Music City 103
  • Music City 103, Greenville 101
  • Music City 103, Greenville 100
  • Music City 106, Greenville 104

1992–93 seasonEdit

Team Wins L W GB Head coach Ref
Cedar Rapids Sharpshooters 12 4 .750
Rick Barry
Greenville Spinners 9 5 .643 2
Fayetteville Flyers 10 7 .588 2.5
SouthGA Blues 8 8 .500 4
Mid-Michigan Great Lakers 6 9 .400 5.5
Mississippi Coast Sharks 6 9 .400 5.5
Jackson Jammers 6 12 .333 7
Louisville Shooters 0 3 .000
Note: Louisville disbanded after three games, the GBA disbanded in December 1992

Award winnersEdit


  1. ^ Millson, Larry (January 9, 1992). "Stepien in Toronto hooping it up again". Globe & Mail. Toronto, Canada. p. C13.
  2. ^ a b "Sports digest". United Press International. May 9, 1991.
  3. ^ "Sports digest". United Press International. March 5, 1991.
  4. ^ a b c d Luke, Tim (26 July 1991). "Spinners name revived for basketball". The Greensville News. Greensville, South Carolina. p. 7. Retrieved 9 November 2020.
  5. ^ "Sports people; Pro basketball; New league sets dates". The New York Times. New York. March 6, 1991.
  6. ^ "Location of the Global Basketball Association teams". The Jackson Sun. 18 November 1992. p. 24. Retrieved 9 November 2020.
  7. ^ Ross, Helen (18 November 1991). "NEW BASKETBALL LEAGUE FULL OF FAMILIAR ACC FACES". Greensboro News and Record. Retrieved 13 November 2020.
  8. ^ "Transactions". The New York Times. New York. May 31, 1991.
  9. ^ "GBA absorbs 6 basketball teams from other league". The Greensville News. Greensville, South Carolina. 13 August 1991. p. 32. Retrieved 9 November 2020.
  10. ^ "GBA". The Greensville News. Greensville, South Carolina. 2 August 1991. p. 31. Retrieved 9 November 2020.
  11. ^ Chaney, Joel (4 August 1991). "Raleigh picks Johnson first". The News and Observer. Raleigh, North Carolina. p. 29. Retrieved 9 November 2020.
  12. ^ Barnes, Mike (November 14, 1991). "Co-op could provide hoop answer". United Press International. Los Angeles, California.
  13. ^ McQuinn, Jon (January 6, 2009). "Mid Michigan Destroyers basketball: Lots of dunks, lots of offense". The Bay City Times. Bay City, Michigan. Retrieved May 10, 2018.
  14. ^ Hiett, Melanie (19 January 1992). "Fans haven't stormed GBA arena gates". Pensacola News Tribune. Pensacola, Florida. p. 32. Retrieved 9 November 2020.
  15. ^ McKernan, Kathleen (3 February 1992). "Fans don't jam arena for Jammers". Messenger-Inquirer. Retrieved 13 November 2020.
  16. ^ Bowman, John (October 28, 1991). "Louisville Shooters tip off advertising campaign". Business First-Louisville (8.13). Louisville, Kentucky: Business First of Louisville, Inc. p. 12.
  17. ^ Bowman, John (February 3, 1992). "Tilton seeks new credit line, backers for Shooters". Business First-Louisville (8.27). Louisville, Kentucky: Business First of Louisville, Inc. p. 3.
  18. ^ Bowman, John (April 6, 1992). "Shooters' fate unknown as debts mount". Business First-Louisville (8.36). Louisville, Kentucky: Business First of Louisville, Inc. p. 1.
  19. ^ "Sports digest". United Press International. June 25, 1992.
  20. ^ Bowman, John (October 19, 1992). "Starting over". Business First-Louisville (9.12). Louisville, Kentucky: Business First of Louisville, Inc. p. 12.
  21. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa "History of the Global Basketball Association". Association for Professional Basketball Research. Retrieved May 10, 2018.
  22. ^ a b "Tansactions". The New York Times. New York. May 8, 1991.
  23. ^ "New Basketball League Announced". The Reporter-Times. Martinsville, Indiana. 6 March 1991. p. 7. Retrieved 9 November 2020.
  24. ^ "Transactions". The New York Times. New York. September 13, 1991.
  25. ^ "Spinners' wait is over: GBA title series begins Thursday". The Greenville News. April 16, 1992. p. 6.
  26. ^ "Transactions". The New York Times. New York. December 22, 1991.
  27. ^ "Cavs Add CBA Veteran to Staff". The Oklahoman. Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. August 19, 1994.
  28. ^ "Cumberland announces 2013 Hall of Fame class". Lebanon, Tennessee: umberland University Athletics. August 20, 2013. Retrieved May 10, 2018.
  30. ^ Rorrer, George (March 11, 1992). "Shooters round up Outlaws". The Courier-Journal. p. 35. Retrieved March 20, 2019 – via