Posted at 8:15 a.m., Thursday, January 3, 2008
Pro basketball: USLB suspends operations
By PAT EATON-ROBB
The 23-year-old league, which has helped develop such NBA players as Spud Webb and Raja Bell, plans to reorganize and hopes to return in 2009, spokesman Jacob Gordon said today.
"The approach is, let's suspend things until we get them corrected, get them right and before we move forward with another season," Gordon said.
The Milford-based USBL opened the 2007 season with eight teams, but franchises in Jackson, Miss., and New Castle, Del., folded in midseason. The Albany (N.Y.) Patroons elected not to show up for the playoffs because the owners didn't want to spend any more money, Gordon said.
That left the Oklahoma Storm, the Gary (Ind.) Steelheads, the Dodge City (Kan.) Legend, the Kansas Cagerz and the Brooklyn (N.Y.) Kings. Gordon said some of those teams had indicated they would not be back this year.
Several other ownership groups have expressed interest in joining the league but had not yet put all their financing together, he said.
"We told them to take your time, get everything right," he said. "We didn't want to put together another schedule and have to change it midseason. That hurts not only the teams, but the fans. It's not fair to the fans."
The USBL season ran from mid-April, following the end of the college basketball season, through the start of the NBA's rookie and free-agent camps in June. That allowed its players to showcase their skills to the NBA and other pro leagues.
There has been informal discussion among some league owners in the Midwest Division about organizing a league of their own. Representatives from Oklahoma, Dodge City, Kansas and Gary met during last summer's postseason tournament to discuss plans for a new league.