Basketball Wiki

World Basketball League (WBL) was a minor professional basketball league in the United States and Canada. 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 1992.

Basketball Hall-of-Famer and Boston Celtic great Bob Cousy 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 publicly-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.


Team City Arena Seasons Notes
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
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

International Teams[]

Team City Seasons Notes
Abruzzo All-Stars Abruzzo, Italy 1992
Bahamas Nationals The Bahamas 1992
Estonian Nationals Estonia 1992
Finland 1989–1991
Greece 1989–1991
Holland The Netherlands 1989–1991
Italy 1989–1991
Kiev All-Stars Kiev, Ukraine 1992
Norway 1989–1991
Soviet Union USSR 1989–1991

Champions of WBL[]

  • 1988 Las Vegas Silver Streaks 102 Chicago Express 95
  • 1989 Youngstown Pride won best of three series 2 games to none over Calgary 88's
  • 1990 Youngstown Pride won best of five championship series 3 games to two over the Calgary 88's
  • 1991 Dayton Wings won best of five championship series 3 games to none over the Calgary 88's
  • 1992 Dayton Wings declared champions due to league folding on August 1st[2]

Notable players[]


  1. WBL Stats
  2. Dayton had the best record overall with 26 wins and only 7 loses

External links[]

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