Open main menu

International Basketball League (1999–2001)

The International Basketball League (IBL) was a short-lived professional men's basketball league in the United States. The IBL was headquartered in Baltimore, Maryland. The league started in 1999 and ended in 2001.

International Basketball League (IBL)
SportBasketball
Founded1999
Inaugural season1999-2000
Ceased2001
No. of teams13
Country United States
ContinentFIBA Americas (Americas)
Last
champion(s)
St. Louis Swarm (2nd title)
Most titlesSt. Louis Swarm (2 titles)

Contents

HistoryEdit

The International Basketball League was founded in early 1999 and made plans to begin play in fall of that year. The first season did not quite meet expectations with attendance, but the league was still largely functional, with the Saint Louis Swarm winning the first championship. The second season was significantly rougher, with the league losing the Baltimore and San Diego franchises and merging with teams from the Continental Basketball Association after that league folded early in 2000. The Swarm won the championship of that league in the second season, and although the league had stated that it would return for a third season, this was not to be the case, and all the teams folded soon after the season ended, although the teams from the former CBA ultimately restarted the CBA the following year. Although the league had some innovations such as playing the international three-point line and trapezoid lane, and with the intention to offer professional basketball and more reasonable ticket prices, the cost structure of the league was simply too great for the revenue and attendance figures that it received.

The International Basketball League (IBL) was first proposed in 1996 as a single-structure organization similar to Major League Soccer. Because of this players were paid by the league and not the team's owners. The IBL also had classes they called "Player Education/Life Readiness Plan" in which IBL players were informed about scholarship opportunities and how to balance school and professional basketball. Plans for the league to begin play were tentatively set for November 1997 with 10 unidentified franchise in the United States.[1]

The league sought to have college players or high school players join their league instead of playing in the NCAA, where they could not receive compensation for their play. NCAA spokesperson Katherine Rice responded to the IBL by saying, "As an educational program, we prefer young people to get an education as a basis for their sports activities."[2]

A two-day meeting was held in St. Louis, Missouri on January 19, 1999 with over 50 IBL owners, executives and advisers in attendance. They were briefed on several things including potential television contracts, the IBL draft and the playoffs.[3]

On February 15, 1999 IBL president Thaxter Trafton announced the team would begin the season on November 26, 1999. Paul Martha served as the IBL vice president and general legal council.[3]

ClubsEdit

Team City Arena(s) Joined Folded
List of teams
Baltimore Bayrunners Baltimore, Maryland Baltimore Arena
1999
2000
Cincinnati Stuff Cincinnati, Ohio Firstar Center
1999
2001
Connecticut Pride Hartford, Connecticut Hartford Civic Center
2001
2001
Gary Steelheads Gary, Indiana Genesis Convention Center
2001
2008
Grand Rapids Hoops Grand Rapids, Michigan DeltaPlex Arena
2001
2003
Las Vegas Silver Bandits Paradise, Nevada Thomas and Mack Center
1999
2001
New Mexico Slam Albuquerque, New Mexico Tingley Coliseum
1999
2001
Richmond Rhythm Richmond, Virginia Siegel Center
1999
2001
Rockford Lightning Rockford, Illinois Rockford MetroCentre
2001
2006
Trenton Shooting Stars Trenton, New Jersey Sovereign Bank Arena
1999
2001
San Diego Stingrays San Diego, California San Diego Sports Arena
1999
2001
St. Louis Swarm St. Charles, Missouri Family Arena
1999
2001
Sioux Falls Skyforce Sioux Falls, South Dakota Sioux Falls Arena
2001
§
The Gary Steelheads folded in 2008 after last playing in the International Basketball League, which had no association with the 1999 to 2001 IBL
The Grand Rapids Hoops joined the re-organized Continental Basketball Association (CBA) in 2001 and played until 2003
The Rockford Lightning joined the re-organized CBA in 2001 and played until 2006
§ The only franchise from the IBL that is still in existence are the Sioux Falls Skyforce, who now play in the NBA G League.
Map
Locations of teams in the International Basketball League from 1999 to 2001

Postseason resultsEdit

2000 IBL PlayoffsEdit

  First Round     Conference Championship     IBL Championship
                           
      1 St. Louis Swarm 2  
  2 New Mexico Slam 2     2 New Mexico Slam 0    
  3 Las Vegas Silver Bandits 1         1 St. Louis Swarm 3
      3 Richmond Rhythm 0
      1 Cincinnati Stuff 0    
  2 Trenton Shooting Stars 1     3 Richmond Rhythm 2  
  3 Richmond Rhythm 2  

2001 IBL PlayoffsEdit

Semifinals IBL Championship
      
1 St. Louis Swarm 2
2 Rockford Lightning 1
1 St. Louis Swarm 2
1 Grand Rapids Hoops 1
1 Grand Rapids Hoops 2
2 Trenton Shooting Stars 1

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "International Basketball League to debut in 1997". PR Newswire. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. June 18, 1996.
  2. ^ Sipe, Jefrey R. (January 6, 1997). "A 'minor' league with conscience". Insight on the News (13.1). News World Communications. p. 42.
  3. ^ a b Powell, Tom (February 15, 1999). "International Basketball League To Debut In November With 12 Teams". Amusement Business (111.2). VNU. p. 12.