The American Basketball League  (external link), a name used by several bsketball  (external link) professional leagues, including a men's league in the early 60's and a recent now defunct, women's league.

The American Basketball League played one full season, 1961–1962, and part of 1962–1963. The league actually folded on December 31, 1962. The ABL was the first basketball league to have a three point shot for baskets scored far away from the goal. Other rules that set the league apart were a 30-second shooting clock and a wider free throw lane—18 feet instead of the standard 12.

The league was formed when basketball mogul Abe Saperstein did not get the Los Angeles National Basketball Association (NBA) franchise he felt he had been promised in return for his years of supporting the NBA with doubleheader games featuring his Harlem Globetrotters.

When Minneapolis Lakers owner Bob Short was permitted to move the Lakers to Los Angeles, Saperstein reacted by convincing National Alliance of Basketball Leagues (NABL) team owner Paul Cohen (Tuck Tapers) and Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) National Champion Cleveland Pipers owner George Steinbrenner to take the top NABL and AAU teams and players and form a rival league.

Saperstein was secretly planning the new league since 1959 but it is unclear whether he would have abandoned these plans were he granted the NBA franchise.1 In reality, Saperstein and Cohen each secretly made arrangements with local promoters in the other cities to finance those teams so there would be an eight-team league.

Saperstein placed the Los Angeles Jets to take on the transplanted Lakers. He got Bill Sharman as coach and signed former NBA players Larry Friend and George Yardley to give the team instant credibility. The idea backfired; the Jets did not last the season.


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