American Basketball League Set To Launch In '13; Will Play Under FIBA Rules
The American Basketball League will begin its inaugural season in January '13, fielding a 12-team league. Initial ABL markets include Miami, San Antonio, San Marcos, Sugarland, College Station, Ft. Lauderdale, West Palm Beach, Fort Walton Beach, Sebring and Corpus Christi. Future expansion is scheduled for California and New York. Music industry exec Steve Rifkind has partnered with ABL Founder & CEO Steve Haney and will lead the league's branding and promotion efforts. Rifkind currently serves as Street Records Corp. CEO, and previously was the founder of Loud Records. Haney previously served as a basketball agent, with clients including Basketball HOFers Magic Johnson and Dominique Wilkins. Haney and Rifkind have launched an apparel division to be headed up by long-time Haney associate Dave Klink (ABL). CBSSPORTS.com's Ben Golliver noted former NBAer Kenny Anderson is "also on board as the ABL's Director of Player Development." The ABL's goals "seem fairly modest, the regional plan makes sense from the standpoint of limiting unnecessary costs, and basketball, as a global sport, benefits from any new successful league, whether in the United States or abroad." However, there are "obvious challenges there that could prove difficult to overcome in the long haul" (CBSSPORTS.com, 9/4). Haney said that "what makes the ABL unique" is that the league "will play under FIBA rules for the purpose of preparing newly graduated American players to pursue careers overseas, primarily in Europe." He also said that the ABL "has received 'tremendous' interest from foreign teams about serving as a farm league for their young prospects who can't get playing time at home, similar to the loan system in professional soccer." In San Antonio, Dan McCarney noted the league also hired Tony Parker Sr., the father of Spurs G Tony Parker, as Exec VP (SAN ANTONIO EXPRESS-NEWS, 9/5).