The Daily News may indeed be fed up with the confusing alphabetization of the sport. But it may have another motive: On the same night as the News's championship, Mike Tyson will fight Buster Mathis Jr. for the unheralded USBA crown. That match will air on Fox, the network owned by Rupert Murdoch, boss of the rival New York Post.
Another Try for Women's Hoops
The founders of the American Basketball League (ABL), a women's pro league unveiled last week, don't plan to do anything different with the game. No brightly colored balls or lowered rims or players in tights. Of course they haven't done anything different by announcing the formation of a league either. It's the second one in the last four months, the Women's Major Basketball League having declared in June its intention to begin playing official games in the fall of 1996. At least two other women's leagues have flopped since 1980, and the one "success," the Women's Basketball Association, wallows in obscurity. What, you've never heard of the St. Louis RiverQueens?
What is new about the ABL, however, is its star power. Nine U.S. team members have already signed contracts. Talks are under way with 1995 NCAA Player of the Year Rebecca Lobo. Twenty-five other top former collegians are signed, with salaries that will range between $40,000 and $125,000. Also, the ABL says it is close to completing television and sponsorship deals.
For all of that, no one knows whether fans will turn out or even where they could turn out. The league, which aims to begin play next fall, has targeted 18 cities for its 12 teams but has sounded out prospective owners in only four—Atlanta, Portland, San Jose and Seattle.
Considering the history of women's pro basketball in the United States, the brazenness of ABL principal founder Steve Hams, who pointedly has not included "Women's" in his league's name, seems kind of ditsy. "We want to make it clear that this is a premier professional league," says Hams. "If the NBA adds an M, we'll consider putting a W in ABL."
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