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1996-97 Season:  ABL Champions: Columbus Quest; ABL Finals MVP: Valerie Still, Columbus; ABL Regular Season MVP: Nikki McCray, Columbus; ABL Coach of the Year: Brian Alger, Colorado; Defensive Player of the Year: Debbie Black, Colorado; Rookie of the Year: Crystal Robinson, Colorado; All-ABL First Team: Teresa Edwards (Atlanta), Dawn Staley (Richmond), Natalie Williams, Nikki McCray (Columbus), Adrienne Goodson (Richmond) All-ABL Second Team: Carolyn Jones (New England), Debbie Black (Colorado), Taj McWilliams (Richmond), Cindy Brown (Seattle), Crystal Robinson (Colorado); ABL All-Star MVP: Tari Phillips, Seattle

1997-98 Season: ABL Champions: Columbus Quest; ABL Finals MVP: Valerie Still, Columbus; ABL Regular Season MVP: Natalie Williams, Portland; ABL Coach of the Year: Lin Dunn, Portland; ABL Defensive Player of the Year: Yolanda Griffith, Long Beach; ABL Rookie of the Year: Shalonda Enis, Seattle; All-ABL First Team: Teresa Edwards (Atlanta) Yolanda Griffith (Long Beach), Carolyn Jones (New England), Katie Smith (Columbus), Natalie Williams (Portland) All-ABL Second Team: Jennifer Azzi (San Jose), Shalonda Enis (Seattle), Adrienne Goodson (Philadelphia), Dawn Staley (Philadelphia), Valerie Still (Columbus); ABL All-Star MVP: Shalonda Enis, Seattle

1998-99 Season


American Basketball League Profile

Name: American Basketball League
Nickname: ABL
Origin: San Jose, California, Usa
Born: September 26th, 1995 (though talks had been going on seven months previous)
Status: Ceased Operations on December 22, 1998

35 ABL Players you should know A-Z: Jennifer Azzi, Debbie Black, Edna Campbell, Sylvia Crawley, Teresa Edwards, Tonya Edwards, Shalonda Enis, Adrienne Goodson, Yolanda Griffith, Sonja Henning, Kedra Holland-Corn, Shannon Johnson, Carolyn Jones, Jackie Joyner-Kersee, Venus Lacy, Michelle Marciniak, Katrina McClain, Nikki McCray, Taj McWilliams, Chastity Melvin, Delisha Milton, Tari Phillips, Elaine Powell, Jen Rizzotti, Crystal Robinson, Saudia Roundtree, Sheri Sam, Charlotte Smith, Katie Smith, Dawn Staley, Kate Starbird, Valerie Still, Kara Wolters, Val Whiting, Natalie Williams

Website: InterBasket
Teams: Atlanta Glory, Chicago Condors (1998), Colorado Xplosion, Columbus Quest, Long Beach StingRays (expansion team in 1997-98), Nashville Noise 1998, New England Blizzard, Philadelphia Rage 1997-98, Portland Power, Richmond Rage 1996-97, San Jose Lasers, Seattle Reign

Ibn Notes: The American Basketball League was a professional women's basketball league in the United States.  Part of the intrigue of this league was due to the fact that it began play only a few months prior to the NBA-backed WNBA was to begin.  And in my opinion (and many others) the ABL was simply the better league, both in talent and ability.  To prove this point, 8 of the 12 players on the great 1996 Olympic Women's Basketball Team that went 60-0 on their way to a gold medal in the Atlanta Olympics went to the ABL (Teresa Edwards, Katrina McClain, Dawn Staley, Jennifer Azzi, Venus Lacy, Nikki McCray, Carla McGhee, and Katy Steding) Then again. in the 2000 Sydney Olympics, 8 of the 12 players representing the US, were former-ABL players (at this point the ABL had folded); Teresa Edwards, Dawn Staley, Jennifer Azzi, Nikki McCray, Yolanda Griffith, Delisha Milton, Kara Wolters and Natalie Williams.

Not only that, counter to what the WNBA was doing at the time, the ABL played four quarters of basketball, used a men's regulation-sized ball, paid their players better and the ABL's season ran nearly seven months - the last two reasons being huge positives because many of the US basketball players were leaving the USA to play overseas for better money, with the ABL, they could stay at home and play basketball professionally as well as being paid well.    

American Basketball League (ABL) links  From our forum: History of the ABL, the American Basketball League  Articles and other resources: One-on-One with Gary Cavalli, co-founder and CEO of the ABL (Women's Hoops Blog, 2004), Jobless Pro Players Try to Save Careers (New York Times, 1999), History of the American Basketball League (Stats, Awards etc.)

*If you cannot access some of the articles, please click here, as this discussion thread collects many of the articles referenced in creating this profile as well as the links above about  the History of the ABL.