Continental Basketball Association

From Academic Kids

The Continental Basketball Association or CBA is a professional men's basketball league in the United States. The league views itself as a minor league that develops talent for the National Basketball Association. It is affiliated with USA Basketball, the sport's governing body in the U.S. It should not be confused with another CBA, the Chinese Basketball Association.

The CBA can date its origins back to April 23, 1946, when it was called the Eastern Pennsylvania Basketball League (1946-47). Between 1948 and 1970 it was called the Eastern Professional Basketball League, and then renamed the Eastern Basketball Association. On June 1, 1978, the league's name became the Continental Basketball Association. Tracing the league's operation back to its Pennsylvania origins, it claims to be the oldest professional basketball league in the world (the NBA's predecessor, the Basketball Association of America, also began operations in 1946, but in June of that year).

Financial problems arising while Isiah Thomas was owner led to the CBA disbanding on February 8, 2001, with some of its teams moving briefly to the International Basketball League. CBA and IBL teams then merged later that year with the International Basketball Association, establishing a resurrected CBA.


CBA Rules

The CBA follows the same basketball rules as does the NBA and most other professional leagues. However, in the late 1970s CBA commissioner Jim Drucker added several new rules to increase scoring and raise fan interest.

  • During each game, a team can win up to seven standings points - three points for winning the game, and one point for each quarter in which they outscore their opponent. The teams with the greatest number of standings points at the end of the year go to the playoffs.
  • A player cannot foul out of the game - after a player's sixth personal foul, the opposing team receives an automatic free throw.
  • During the 1982-83 and 1983-84 seasons, overtime games were decided by the team who scored the first three points in overtime. During the 1984-85 season, that rule was modified so that victory went to the first team to LEAD by three points in overtime. By the 1987-88 season, that rule was superseded by a standard five-minute overtime period to determine the winner.
  • During the 1981-82 season, the CBA created a six-foot by five-foot "no call box", an area in front of the baskets in which any contact in the box betwen offensive and defensive players was to be an automatic defensive foul. This rule, which was designed to encourage drives to the hoop, caused more confusion than scoring, and the rule was quickly abandoned.
  • For a few years in the early early 1980's, the CBA offered a money-back guarantee, returning a patron's money if before the start of the second quarter, the fan left the game. There was also a "national season ticket," allowing fans to attend any CBA games within a 100-mile radius of his hometown.

Other CBA rules and innovations that were later adopted by the NBA include the three-point line (first used in the CBA in 1964), collapsible rims to keep backboard glass from being destroyed in a dunk (first used by the CBA in 1980), and the offering of three foul shots if a player is fouled in the act of shooting a three-point behind-the-arc play.

Famous CBA Alumni

The following are a list of playes from the CBA or the Eastern League (the CBA's predecessor) who later went on to successful careers, either in the NBA or in the top college divisions.

  • Phil Jackson - coached the Albany Patroons for five years; later won nine rings as an NBA head coach.
  • George Karl - coached the Montana Golden Nuggets and Albany Patroons; later became a head coach with the NBA's Milwaukee Bucks, Seattle SuperSonics and Denver Nuggets.
  • John Chaney - The longtime Temple Owls coach played for the Eastern League's Sunbury Mercuries, and later coached the Williamsport Billies.
  • Tim Legler - The Omaha Racers star later became an NBA superstar with the Washington Bullets.
  • Jim Boeheim - Long before he became head coach of the Syracuse Orange men's basketball team, Boeheim was a star for the Scranton Miners in the 1960's.

CBA/NBA Relationship

During the early years of the CBA, when it was the EPBL, the league's relationship with the NBA was frosty at best. In 1953, the NBA refused to accept any players from the EPBL after the EPBL signed two college basketball stars, Jack Molinas and Sherman White, both of whom were involved in college basketball point-shaving scandals. The Eastern League also signed 7-foot center Bill Spivey, the former University of Kentucky standout who was accused of pointshaving (although Spivey was acquitted of all charges, the NBA still banned him from their league for life). By 1959, however, the NBA and EPBL actually played an exhibition game together, as the New York Knicks defeated the Allentown Jets, 131-102, in a game in Allentown.

Besides signing White, Molinas and Spivey, the Eastern League could sign various basketball stars, even those who had not completed their college eligibility. Even though Ray Scott had left his college two months after enrolling in it, the NBA could not sign Scott to a contract until Scott's class graduated. The CBA, however, could sign him, and Scott played 77 games for the Allentown Jets before later joining the NBA's Detroit Pistons.

By 1968, the Eastern League lost many of its players when the upstart American Basketball Association formed. Players such as Lavern "Jelly" Tart, Willie Somerset, Art Heyman and Walt Simon, all of whom were all-stars in the Eastern League just a year prior, were now in ABA uniforms. The ABA continued to siphon both NBA and Eastern League talent, leaving the Eastern League with only six teams in 1972; and four teams in 1975. The Eastern League survives when the ABA and NBA merge, as an influx of players from the ABA now join the Eastern League.

In 1979, the NBA signed four players from the newly-renamed CBA. The CBA, receiving no compensation from the NBA for these signings, files a lawsuit against the NBA. The suit is resolved, when in exchange for the right to sign any player at any time, the NBA pays the CBA $115,000; and pays the league $80,000 to help develop NBA referees at CBA games.

NBA/CBA relationships grow tense again in 1982, when the CBA adds the Detroit Spirits to their league roster. Since the Spirits play in the same city as do the NBA's Detroit Pistons, the NBA decides not to sign any CBA players, arguing that the CBA illegally moved into an NBA city. After much negotiation between the two leagues, the NBA agreed to sign qualified CBA players to a 10-day contract. A player could be called up to an NBA team for 10 days at the league minimum, often replacing an injured NBA star. The CBA player could sign a second 10-day contract, but after the completion of the second 10-day contract, the NBA team would have to sign the player for the rest of the season, or return him to the CBA. The CBA teams, in turn, would receive compensation for each 10-day contract.

During the 1980's and 1990's, the NBA's relationship with the CBA grew, to the point where dozens of former CBA stars found their way onto NBA rosters, including Tim Legler (Omaha Racers), Mario Elie (Albany Patroons), and Ron Davis (Anchorage Northern Knights). The CBA also sent qualified coaches to the NBA, including Phil Jackson (Albany Patroons), Bill Musselman (Tampa Bay Thrillers), Eric Musselman (Rapid City Thrillers), Flip Saunders (Grand Rapids Hoops) and George Karl (Montana Golden Nuggets).

In 2002, the NBA formed its own minor league, the National Basketball Develompent League (the NBDL or "D-League"), although the NBA still calls up CBA players from time to time.

CBA All-Star Games

All-Star Game Results

  • 1979 - Rochester Zeniths 182, CBA All-Stars 168 (Rochester, N.Y.)

This game took two days to play, as a blackout hit the Rochester, N.Y. area during the contest. The CBA commissioner ordered that a full four-quarter game be played the next day, while still retaining the score from the first two quarters (at that time, Rochester was leading 57-48).

  • 1982 - Western Division 101, Eastern Division 91 (East Rutherford, N.J.)
  • 1983 - Albany Patroons 122, CBA All-Stars 109 (Albany, N.Y.)
  • 1984 - CBA All-Stars 128, Wyoming Wildcatters 125 (Caspar, Wyo.)
  • 1985 - CBA All-Stars 113, Evansville Thunder 109 (Evansville, Ill.)
  • 1986 - CBA All-Stars 110, Tampa Bay Thillers 108 (Tampa Bay, Fla.)
  • 1987 - CBA All-Stars 105, LaCrosse Catbirds 102 (LaCrosse, Wisc.)
  • 1988 - CBA All-Stars 115, Topeka Sizzlers 94 (Topeka, Kan.)
  • 1989 - Rockford Lightning 103, CBA All-Stars 97 (Rockford, Ill.)
  • 1990 - National Conference 107, American Conference 105 (Moline, Ill.)
  • 1991 - National Conference 120, American Conference 116 (Cedar Rapids, Iowa)
  • 1992 - National Conference 124, American Conference 115 (Yakima, Wash.)
  • 1993 - American Conference 133, National Conference 121 (Oklahoma City, Okla.)
  • 1994 - American Conference 119, National Conference 108 (Fort Wayne, Ind.)
  • 1995 - National Conference 119, Hartford Hellcats 115 (Hartford, Conn.)
  • 1996 - National Conference 121, American Conference 105 (Sioux Falls, S.D.)
  • 1997 - American Conference 107, National Conference 98 (Yakima, Wash.)
  • 2000 - Eastern Division 135, Western Division 124 (Sioux Falls, S.D.)
  • 2003 - National Conference 140, American Conference 125 (Sioux Falls, S.D.)
  • 2004 - National Conference 105, American Conference 103 (Yakima, Wash.)
  • 2005 - Eastern Conference 114, Western Conference 110 (Gary, Ind.)

All-Star Game Most Valuable Players

  • 1979 - Andre McCarter, Rochester Zeniths
  • 1982 - Brad Branson, Anchorage Northern Knights
  • 1983 - Larry Spriggs, Albany Patroons
  • 1984 - Anthony Roberts, Wyoming Wildcatters
  • 1985 - Rick Lamb, Wyoming Wildcatters
  • 1986 - Don Collins, Tampa Bay Thrillers
  • 1987 - Eddie Johnson, Tampa Bay Thrillers
  • 1988 - Michael Brooks, Albany Patroons
  • 1989 - Dwayne McClain, Rockford Lightning
  • 1990 - Conner Henry, Rapid City Thrillers
  • 1991 - Vincent Askew, Albany Patroons
  • 1992 - Conner Henry, Yakima Sun Kings
  • 1993 - Pat Durham, Fargo-Moorhead Fever
  • 1994 - Jeff Martin, Grand Rapids Hoops
  • 1995 - Tony Dawson, Rockford Lightning
  • 1996 - SHelton Jones, Florida Beachdogs
  • 1997 - Dexter Boney, Florida Beachdogs
  • 2000 - Dontae Jones, LaCrosse Bobcats
  • 2003 - Versile Shaw, Sioux Falls Skyforce
  • 2004 - Roberto Bergersen, Idaho Stampede
  • 2005 - Sam Clancy, Idaho Stampede

CBA Teams 2005-06

CBA Champions

Best-of-three games series

  • 1946-47 Wilkes-Barre Barons d. Lancaster Red Roses 2-1
  • 1947-48 Reading Keys d. Hazelton Mountaineers 2-1
  • 1948-49 Pottsville Packers d. Harrisburg Senators 2-1
  • 1949-50 Williamsport Billies d. Harrisburg Senators 2-1
  • 1950-51 Sunbury Mercuries d. York Victory A.C. 2-0
  • 1951-52 Pottsville Packers d. Sunbury Mercuries 2-1
  • 1952-53 Williamsport Billies d. Berwick Carbuilders 2-1
  • 1953-54 Williamsport Billies d. Lancaster Red Roses 2-1
  • 1954-55 Wilkes-Barre Barons d. Hazelton Hawks 2-1
  • 1955-56 Wilkes-Barre Barons d. Williamsport Billies 3-1
  • 1956-57 Scranton Miners d. Hazelton Hawks 2-1
  • 1957-58 Wilkes-Barre Barons d. Easton Madisons 2-1
  • 1958-59 Wilkes-Barre Barons d. Scranton Miners 2-1
  • 1959-60 Easton Madisons d. Baltimore Bullets 2-1
  • 1960-61 Baltimore Bullets d. Allentown Jets 1-0
  • 1961-62 Allentown Jets d. Williamsport Billies 2-1
  • 1962-63 Allentown Jets d. Wilkes-Barre Barons 2-1
  • 1963-64 Camden Bullets d. Trenton Colonials 2-0
  • 1964-65 Allentown Jets d. Scranton Miners 2-1
  • 1965-66 Wilmington Blue Bombers d. Wilkes-Barre Barons 2-1
  • 1966-67 Wilmington Blue Bombers d. Scranton Miners 2-1

Best-of-five games series

  • 1967-68 Allentown Jets d. Wilkes-Barre Barons 3-2
  • 1968-69 Wilkes-Barre Barons d. Wilmington Blue Bombers 3-2
  • 1969-70 Allentown Jets d. Wilmington Blue Bombers 3-2
  • 1970-71 Scranton Apollos d. Hamden Bics 3-1
  • 1971-72 Allentown Jets d. Scranton Apollos 3-2
  • 1972-73 Wilkes-Barre Barons d. Hartford Capitals 3-2
  • 1973-74 Hartford Capitals d. Allentown Jets 3-2
  • 1974-75 Allentown Jets d. Hazelton Bullets 2-1
  • 1975-76 Allentown Jets d. Lancaster Red Roses 3-2
  • 1976-77 Scranton Apollos d. Allentown Jets 3-1
  • 1977-78 Wilkes-Barre Barons d. Lancaster Red Roses 3-2

Best-of-seven games series

Championship game

  • 1999-2000 Yakima Sun Kings 109, LaCrosse Bobcats 93
  • 2000-2001 Idaho Stampede (17-7) and Connecticut Pride (15-9) led their divisions when the league suspended operations.
  • 2001-2002 Dakota Wizards 116, Rockford Lightning 109
  • 2002-2003 Yakima Sun Kings 117, Grand Rapids Hoops 107
  • 2003-2004 Dakota Wizards 132, Idaho Stampede 129

Best-of-five games series

  • 2004-2005 Sioux Falls Skyforce d. Rockford Lightning 3-1

External links

  • CBA website (
  • CBA bankruptcy (

See also


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