[Seattle Reign!]

Speaking of Real Basketball, here's a little surprise for ya!

Check it out!

The Seattle Reign and the American Basketball League,
1996-1998

At 01/13/07: a few thoughts...

Although I had intended (in 2001) to leave these pages completely alone, I've got to say that I'm very gratified that they are continuing to generate a lot of traffic, and in fact this page in particular now ranks as the eighteenth-most-visited page in my entire mish-mash of web pages.

Since the stuff here is also extremely disorganized, I thought I'd bring up some links to what I feel are some of the more interesting bits-and-pieces. If you follow a link and then wander around, taking the <- Back link somewhere should bring you back here...

First, a little background. My daughter and I were Seattle Reign season ticket holders for two years (actually, a season-and-a-half) when she was in middle school and playing basketball, and we had fabulous seats right on the wall (the Seattle Reign played in the Mercer Arena at Seattle Center, which was really laid-out as a hockey arena) just off to the right of the basket, opposite the team bench side of the court. So there were people sitting right down on the floor, but there was really nobody sitting right in front of us.

Here's my copy of the ABL's press release, announcing that the ABL was going into bankruptcy on December 22, 1998.

Here was my response, posted to the Seattle Reign Fan Forum that evening, just before I went out to coach a 7th-8th grade girls' preseason basketball team. Here is another copy that has some Fan Forum replies by other fans down at the bottom.

This second copy and the replies are in the archive I made of the original American Basketball League website shortly after bankruptcy was declared, at the link on the right, "A Fan Forum Snapshot".

Note that most of the links below are dead, and have been for years. Those that now lead to somewhere really offensive (why is it that domain name squatters always seem redirect the web site names they've hijacked to porn sites?) will just point you right back here.

As far as I know, nothing ever came of the bankruptcy, or at least I never heard anything after getting one big batch of paper in the mail...

I used to post home game impressions on the Seattle Reign Fan Forum; here's my archive of the abortive '98-'99 season's posts, including the best basketball game I've ever seen, bar none: November 27, 1998: the Seattle Reign in a double-overtime win versus San Jose at the Key Arena!

Here's my notes from the '97-'98 season home games.

And finally, for those with a sense of irony (or something), here's the Seattle Reign 1998 Christmas card. We received ours in the mail on December 23, 1998. The ABL declared bankruptcy the day before, on December 22...

 


At 02/16/01: here's an update for an issue I should be following more closely:

1. McCutchen: American Basketball League

OK: there's some kinda game being played here, because I just (03/27/01) got a notification (*not* from McCutchen, which *never* responded to my email, back in February...) that the above link is dead.

So here's another one, that works, today, anyway...

1. McCutchen: American Basketball League

S Score: 1000 URL: http://www.mccutchen.com/are/bank/ABL/ABL.htm Size: 1399 bytes

American Basketball League

McCutchen is the former bankruptcy counsel to the American Basketball League. To contact the ABL, you may send an email message to ablbankruptcy@mdbe.com. Your message will be forwarded to the ABL Governing Board....

Yeah, well I sent that address an email back in February, 2001, and I haven't heard a word. Dang! They owe me some money...

So I tried this email address, too, today:

ablbankruptcy@mccutchen.com


Seattle Reign and ABL News

Revisited 08/10/99  - -  ABL Resources on the web!

Well, I don't know that I can say I'm back, but this page keeps getting so many hits that I kinda feel guilty not keeping it current..

But current to what? The WNBA [read: the NBA management] won, but won what? I'm getting solicitations from the as-yet unamed Seattle WNBA team to sign-up for season tickets, but the WNBA plays in the summer, and the summer is when Rosalie does fastpitch, and basketball camps, so we're full up.

And I'm just not into mass-market, middle-American, consumerist sports! I mean, I saw somebody from the WNBA on the wrapper of some granola bar!

I've been co-coaching and scoring for a U-14 girls' fastpitch team this summer, and watching women's pro fastpitch on ESPN, and I followed the women's World Cup...

But the WNBA leaves me cold -- not the players, mind you, but the WNBA itself -- so I just think I'll let it be, and leave these pages alone, as they were back on March 13, 1999, the last time I updated them...

March 13, 1999 -- that was four days before Rosalie's last basketball game as an eight-grader on the McMurray Middle School Varsity team.

She scored ten points and fouled-out with two minutes to go and the Mustangs beat Orting 28 to 8! Now, that's real basketball!


HoopGirls!

The  hoopSalute!  pages

USABasketball.com!


And, hey, how is the WNBA, anyway?


Well...

March 10, 1999 -- Michelle Smith at espn.go.com

"Starbird's schedule has less room for basketball"

"Kate Starbird walked out on to the court at Maples Pavilion last Saturday with former Stanford teammates Vanessa Nygaard and Charmin Smith and tossed out a few T-shirts to the crowd gathered at Stanford's regular-season finale against Oregon State."

"Before the game, she donned her Nike sweatsuit and did an event with a large group of kids sponsored by the shoe company."

"At night she works on the computer company that she is attempting to form with a group of Stanford graduates."

"Noticeably absent from her calendar is basketball. Starbird, the 1997 Naismith Award winner who led Stanford to three consecutive Final Fours is currently out of work in her first vocation, professional basketball, after the folding of the American Basketball League nearly three months ago."

"And despite the passing of the weeks and now months, Starbird really has no idea what the future has in store. Presumably she will be picked up by the WNBA. But until the league and the players union determine how they will distribute former ABL players and how many of them are up for distribution, Starbird waits and works out."

""No one knows anything," Starbird says with a shrug. "We keep asking each other, but apparently there's nothing to know. So we all sit and wait.""

"Starbird is obviously aware of the union negotiations between the WNBA and its players. She knows its most likely that she will not hear from the league until a labor agreement is reached. She also knows about the limits that the players are trying to place on the number of ABL players in the league and the feeling of WNBA players that no ABL players should be allowed in this season."


"Negotiations update"

"The WNBA and the Players Union met again on Monday [03/08/99], but there still appears to be no substantive progress coming out of the meetings."

"A source representing the players say proposals have been exchanged, but "the two sides are very far apart.""

"..the two sides are very far apart.." Does this sound familiar, or what?

"While the salary issue still needs to be worked out, the big sticking point still appears to be the integration and distribution of the ABL players. The teams and the league are said to be in favor of opening the doors to ABL players, a position the players clearly don't support."

So, the teams and the league (read: the NBA management) want the top ABL players, but the WNBA players don't..
I wonder who'll win? How about: nobody!


March 04, 1999 -- Michelle Smith at espn.go.com

"WNBA jobs to go up for grabs"

or...

Marketing uber alles!

"Let's start with a concession: It's tough to blame WNBA players for their collective feeling that the folding of the ABL is not their problem, and they shouldn't have to be the ones who end up out of a job. It isn't fair."

"But here's the bottom line: This is the world of professional sports. And by nature, it is anything but fair."

"WNBA players want to be rewarded for the loyalty they showed to the league by signing for a fraction of the money that was being paid in the ABL."

"They want to be rewarded for the loyalty they showed when people criticized the quality of play and the summer schedule and said it was all about style over substance."

"They want to be rewarded with higher salaries and health-care, but most importantly, with continued employment for everyone."


Ya know, I'm sorry, but they bought into the league that is run by the rich white guys of the NBA, and now that the rich white guys are the only game in town, what do they expect?

That the rich white guys of the NBA would show sense of duty towards women and women's sports and toward the faithful women players who went with the low pay and the summer schedule and no health care and having to find other work in the winter and "WNBA Barbie" and the same Star-Player system that has ruined the NBA and most other pro sports?

No: "This is the world of professional sports. And by nature, it is anything but fair."


"If the WNBA players and their new union had their way, there would be no ABL players in their league this summer."

"There has been talk of a one-year moratorium on ABL players, but that won't happen."

"The WNBA [management] wants former ABL players on their rosters if it makes them better, more competitive, more marketable. And if that means that borderline players who started with the league two years ago are out of the picture, so be it."


Basically, there should be absolutely no surprise that the NBA management (which is what the WNBA management really is..) is just going to say to the lower-level WNBA players: "Hey! Thanks a lot, honey! We're done with you -- now get out of the way!"

Here's Michelle Smith's best quote:

"Loyalty should not be an issue here."

OK... I never thought that it would be. Did anyone else really expect better from the NBA management? The WNBA has never had anything to do with women or women's sports or the advancement of women's causes...


"Yet many of these same people recoil at the thought of the game losing its intimacy, its status as the anti-pro-sport, the bastion of all that is right and good in athletic endeavor, the kind of sport where one player can't lose a job to a superior one because it just wouldn't be right. It can't be both ways."


And what is Michelle talking about here? Where did anyone say that women's basketball (college or pro) was a sanctuary where everybody gets to play, no matter how good?

Ask Pat Summit or Tara VanderVeer to explain how they rotate through their benches so everybody gets lots of playing time! They'll laugh at you!

My daughter's in the eigth grade, on Varsity, and if she's not playing good she's on the bench until she picks it back up again! There's always someone nipping at her heels!

But that's not the real point:

Smith's statement here is just part of the continuing smokescreen, again portraying some supporters of womens' basketball as politically-correct idealists -- which of course is a Bad Thing -- when the real point is that the management of the NBA has used all of the women players that bought into the WNBA for an agenda that has nothing to do with women, sports, or women's sports, and will certainly discard any one them when they're no longer needed!

Marketing uber alles!


Thursday, Feb. 25 8:49pm ET -- Michelle Smith

It's time to start dealing

"The WNBA and the National Basketball Players Association have met twice in their effort to reach a collective bargaining agreement and barely have gotten past the small talk. In the meantime, the season is a little more than three months away, and there is still a lot of work to be done."

"There is still a boatload of veteran players with contracts waiting to be signed. More than half the league's players are not yet under contract for the 1999 season. Coaches for the WNBA's established teams have done much work in advance, still waiting to see which players are going to be part of their picture."

"And then there's the pesky little matter of integrating the ABL players, a number still to be determined in a manner still to be determined. Is there going to be a draft? A tryout? A limit? The league probably has answers to all of these questions but can't move forward without an agreement. And nobody is more curious than the ABL players who are working out in anticipation of a new job and waiting for their agents to call with job or tryout offers."

"Ackerman met with the players association director Billy Hunter on Friday. It was the second meeting between the two parties. But there was no substantive progress to report."

"Hunter met with players in Orlando on Sunday night and characterized the negotiations to the Sentinel as "real slow going.""

""We want to get this resolved. We don't want to put the WNBA out of business, but the women have some long-term concerns," Hunter said."

"If anybody has incentive to stall, it would be the WNBA. The longer the league drags things out here in the early stages, the more likely the players are to panic, feel that they are threatening the security of the league and ease off some of their demands -- if they can even be called that at this point."

"Without much leverage, the players are in a demanding position. But clearly it's time to negotiate."


There, just see how easy it is?

Ya just gotta know the right people!

"The WNBA's 1999 season is finally on the books, kicking off with four games on Thursday, June 10..."

"...A combined total of 31 games will be broadcast by NBC, ESPN and Lifetime. The inaugural WNBA All-Star Game will be televised by ESPN on Wednesday, July 14..."

"...Lifetime Television will air 11 regular-season games on a weekly Friday night schedule, beginning on June 18 when the New York Liberty hosts the Los Angeles Sparks. NBC also gets 11 regular-season games, beginning on June 12 with a Houston-Washington matchup and ESPN's nine-game Monday schedule opens on June 14 with Washington playing in New York..."

Can you say "oops!"

"...The NBA postseason will overlap with the WNBA season for at least two weeks. The NBA Finals are scheduled to begin either June 13 or June 16 and could end as late as June 29..."

And finally, a surprise?

"...Of the last four coaches fired in the WNBA, three positions have been filled and in each case a female coach has been replaced by a man..."

All this from Michelle Smith at ESPN...


At 02/16/01: here's an update for an issue I should be following more closely:

1. McCutchen: American Basketball League

Score: 1000 URL: http://www.mccutchen.com/are/bank/ABL/ABL.htm Size: 1399 bytes

American Basketball League McCutchen is the former bankruptcy counsel to the American Basketball League. To contact the ABL, you may send an email message to ablbankruptcy@mdbe.com. Your message will be forwarded to the ABL Governing Board....

Dang! They owe me some money...


McCutchen OnLine -- the American Basketball League

"The American Basketball League, Inc. filed a voluntary petition under chapter 11 of the United States Bankruptcy Code on December 31, 1998 and continues to operate its affairs as a debtor in possession. The case is pending in the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Central District of California, San Jose Division, as Case No. 98-60354-MM-11. The San Jose Division is located at the United States Courthouse, 280 South First Street, San Jose, California, 95113-3099. The clerk's office is open from 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday. More information about the bankruptcy court may be obtained from its website at www.canb.uscourts.gov."

"McCutchen is bankruptcy counsel to the American Basketball League. [Here] are some questions that have come up during the bankruptcy proceedings."

"If you have additional questions, please contact the McCutchen attorneys who are handling the ABL's bankruptcy case at cmathews@mdbe.com."


While looking for hoopSalute results, I found:

"ABL BOXED OUT OF POSITION
BEFORE ITS FALL, LEAGUE WAS ON THE DEFENSIVE" 

Published on 01/24/99, Article 10 of 21 found.

"When the American Basketball League began its third season last November,
today was to be its all-star game at San Jose Arena, a celebration of a
new professional age in women's sports."

"Instead, it is 24 days since the ABL filed for bankruptcy (more than $10
million in debts listed against $500,000 in assets), the arena is dark,
and the game will be a collection of ex-ABL starters and benchwarmers
playing in a 1,600-seat junior college gym."

(SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS , 1805 words.)

Complete Article ($1.95)

Poot! Now ya gotta pay to read it..

Anyway -- It's still the most succinct narration I've seen yet about what happened to the ABL...


Great ABL Photographs Still Online!

If you haven't done so, check this out while it's still up:

the ABL Photo Gallery

at nando.net/sportserver.com - this is very, very cool! Great photos still (02/22/99) available!


Top

ABL Resources on the Web!

I'm gonna try to check all these out, but the quality may vary widely.

Fan Forums

Fan's Sites

"Unofficial" Sites

A page of links to State Attorneys General...

And, here's some links to the really really big guys...


Fan Forums

Back


The Seattle Reign Fan Forum seems to be down..

Probably for good...


Try out a new ABL Fan Forum at: insidetheweb.com

It's at: http://www.insidetheweb.com/mbs.cgi/mb285141

"Welcome to the (new) ABL Fan Forum. This discussion space is for topics about the ABL and Women's Basketball. It is fan-based and provides a central place for such discussions after the "official" ABL forums are closed."
12/28/98


...and another Fan Forum (really women's basketball, generally..) at insidetheweb.com, here...

This one's at: http://www.insidetheweb.com/mbs.cgi/mb306175

"Hello everybody! :o) Here's a message board dedicated to our favorite women's basketball players. Keep it clean & to the point, because NO personal attacks or other offensive material will be tolerated. HOOP IT UP & HAVE FUN! :o)"


The Women's Basketball Forum at MSNBC!

It's at: http://bbs.msnbc.com/bbs/msnbc-womansbb/index.asp

A general, active discussion board for women's b-ball...


Fan's Sites

Back

This is 17 year-old Colleen Bittner's ABL/Seattle Reign web pages!

She is at: http://www.geocities.com/Colosseum/Sideline/1946/index.html

Colleen has had these web pages up for well over a year now and her site has had over 4,000 hits! (I should be so lucky!)

Colleen also has some excellent writing at suite101.com about Women's Basketball!


Hey! Cool! Ashley's got a basketball web site up!

Currently Under Construction!

Check it out! I hope she puts some of her writing up, too!


And, here's ksw_vsw's always-underconstruction basketball fan pageee!


"Unofficial" Sites

Back

ABL Again - can the ABL be saved? is at: http://www.freeyellow.com/members6/ablagain/

"Check here for current status of the various known efforts to save, revive, replace or continue the ABL. Many groups are working on many different strategies. Please check the ABL FAQ for answers to specific questions."

These are the folks who are backing this deal:

"The Fan Consortium is an as yet unincorporated organization which grew out of the Lasers Beam Team support group. They are seeking pledges from fans to buy out -- take over -- infuse cash -- or whatever -- in an effort to keep the ABL playing. Their pledge page can be reached at: http://www.elf.net/abl."


Here is the San Jose Lasers Observer

"The San Jose Lasers were one of the teams in the American Basketball League (ABL), whose inaugural season began in October of 1996, and whose final game was played in December of 1998."
"Even though the Lasers do not play together as a team anymore, to their fans, they will always be San Jose Lasers."
"Here at the Observer, you can reminicse about REAL BASKETBALL and keep track of the careers of all former Lasers."

They are at: http://www.nil.org/observer/index.html

And here is a Trading Post for Lasers and ABL stuff!


The Columbus Quest web site!

It's at: http://columbusquest.com/main.html

Apparently the Columbus Quest web site (or at least this one!) was not  run by the ABL/Medius Interactive!

It's still got an active Discussion Board!


The Unofficial Portland Power web site!

It's at: http://www.sabl.com/power/index.html

Pretty good site; history; some current stuff; in particular, see: "Heroes and Villains - Look, we have to blame someone" - which actually has some lucid thinking about what went into the demise of the ABL.


And, maybe someday, www.reignfans.com

It's at: http://www.reignfans.com/ - although nothing has happened since the domain name was registered...


Back

the American Basketball League

Is now extinct, but ongoing news about women's basketball,
and some stats 'n stuff for the '98-'99 ABL season can be found at:


[Seattle Reign!]

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copyright John D Sage/FinchHaven
1999, 2000, 2001, 2002


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