Long Island Surf

The Long Island Surf were a professional basketball team based in Long Island, New York. They played 14 seasons in the United States Basketball League (USBL).

Long Island Surf
DivisionNone (1985, 1987–88, 1993–95)
Northern (1991–92, 1996–2001)
Established1985 (1st)
1991 (2nd)
Folded1988 (1st)
2001 (2nd)
LocationLong Island, New York
Team colorsblack, teal, pink


The franchise was established in 1985 as the Long Island Knights, and played in the first USBL season, finishing with a 9–15 record.[1] The team did not participate in the 1986 season but did return for the 1987 edition, ending the regular season as the 4th ranked team and qualifying for the Postseason Festival (the USBL playoffs), during which they reached the semifinals, where they lost to the Rhode Island Gulls.[1] In the 1987 season, female player Nancy Lieberman played for the Long Island Knights.[2][3] In the 1988 season the Knights ended at the bottom of the table with a 3–27 record.[1] After the season, the franchise was disbanded.

In 1991, a group of 31 Long Island investors coordinated by Ed Krinsky re-established the team under the new name Long Island Surf and a starting budget of a 100,000 US$.[4] In their first season back in the USBL, the Surf ended with a 7–13 record in the Northern Division.[1] Forward Anthony Mason led the league in rebounds at 11.2 per game.[5] In 1992 the Surf finished with the second best record of the division (13–13) and qualified for the Postseason Festival, where they lost to the Philadelphia Spirit in the division finals.[1] In 1993 the divisions were abolished; the Surf ended 4th in the league table with a 14–10 record and qualified for the Postseason Playoffs, where they were eliminated by the Westchester Stallions.[1] Point guard David Cain led the USBL in assists with 9.4 per game.[6]

By 1994, the New York Times reported that the franchise had doubled its value.[4] The team ended the 1994 season with a 13–14 record, progressing to the Postseason Festival quarterfinals where they were eliminated by the Connecticut Skylarks.[1] Surf point guard Jean Prioleau led the league in assists with 10.3 a game. In 1995 the team improved its record to 14–12, but missed the playoffs (only the first three teams qualified); in 1996, ranking 3rd in the re-established Northern Division, the Surf reached the playoffs, where they lost to the Portland Mountain Cats.[1] Former St. John's center Shawnelle Scott led the USBL in rebounding (13.5 per game) playing for the Surf. In 1997 the Surf had a successful season: they ranked 2nd in their division with a 19–7 record, and advanced to the USBL finals after defeating the Connecticut Skyhawks in the quarterfinals and the Atlanta Trojans in the semifinals.[1] The Surf faced the Atlantic City Seagulls in the USBL finals, losing 112–114. In 1998, the Long Island franchise won the Northern Division with an 18–7 record, and again reached the USBL finals after beating the Columbus Cagerz in the second round, and the Connecticut Skyhawks in the Final Four; they lost the finals to the Atlantic City Seagulls for the second consecutive year, 96–100.[1]

In 1999 the Surf finished second in the division behind the Connecticut Skyhawks, and reached the playoff semifinals, where they lost to the Skyhawks, 92–99.[1] The franchise reached the playoffs again in 2000 after finishing 3rd in their division; they lost to the New Jersey ShoreCats, 103–116. The Long Island Surf played their final USBL season in 2001: in their last appearance they made the playoffs and advanced to the semifinals, where they lost to eventual champions Pennsylvania Valleydawgs.[1] The team was then disbanded after the end of the season.

Season-by-season recordsEdit

Year Wins Losses Win % Head coach
Long Island Knights
1985 9 15 .375 Frank Mulzoff[7]
1987 13 15 .467 Dean Meminger
1988 3 27 .100 Jim Murphy[8]
Long Island Surf
1991 7 13 .350 Bernard Tomlin[9]
1992 13 13 .500 George T. Johnson
1993 14 10 .583 George T. Johnson
1994 13 14 .482 George T. Johnson
1995 14 12 .538 George T. Johnson
1996 14 13 .519 Cedric Maxwell
1997 19 7 .731 Sam Worthen
1998 18 7 .720 James Ryans[10]
1999 13 15 .464 James Ryans[11]
2000 15 15 .500 James Ryans
2001 13 16 .448 James Ryans

Notable playersEdit

Note: Flags indicate national team eligibility at FIBA sanctioned events. Players may hold other non-FIBA nationality not displayed.


To appear in this section a player must have either:

  • Set a club record or won an individual award while at the club.
  • Played at least one official international match for their national team at any time.
  • Played at least one official NBA match at any time.


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m "History of the United States Basketball League". APBR.org. Association for Professional Basketball Research. Retrieved November 14, 2020.
  2. ^ "It's a whole other World for Free in summer USBL". The Akron Beacon Journal. June 14, 1987. p. 61.
  3. ^ "Will Birmingham join the United States Basketball League?". birminghamprosports.com. Retrieved October 15, 2019.
  4. ^ a b Winzelberg, David (May 15, 1994). "In a Westbury Gym, Striving to Play Basketball in the Garden". The New York Times. Retrieved November 14, 2020.
  5. ^ "USBL 1991 SEASON RECAP". usbl.com. Archived from the original on October 28, 2000. Retrieved July 20, 2019.
  6. ^ "USBL 1993 SEASON RECAP". usbl.com. Archived from the original on October 28, 2000. Retrieved July 20, 2019.
  7. ^ "Frank Mulzoff, former coach at St. John's University, was..." UPI. March 28, 1985. Retrieved November 14, 2020.
  8. ^ "Middleton still chasing basketball job". Southern Illinoisan. August 1, 1988. p. 11.
  9. ^ "BASKETBALL". Tallahassee Democrat. April 26, 1991. p. 46.
  10. ^ "TRANSACTIONS". The New York Times. May 29, 1998. Retrieved November 14, 2020.
  11. ^ "USBL Team-By-Team Capsules". The Salina Journal. April 30, 1999. p. C5. Retrieved November 14, 2020 – via Newspapers.com.
  12. ^ "All-Time USBL Roster". usbl.com. Archived from the original on August 4, 2004. Retrieved November 8, 2019.