History of the EBA
An outsider or a non-basketball person could say that the basketball in the eastern states is much like alphabet soup, CBA, ERA, ERL, ABA, USBL, ILB, and UBA.
This is not meant to be an authoritative piece on the history of eastern basketball, just rather a quick primer to try to bring “life in the fast lane” of basketball in the East into focus.
First organized in 1946, the EASTERN BASKETBALL ASSOCIATION (EBA) was an East Coast-based league with teams coming from Pennsylvania and the surrounding states. It was eventually supplanted by the EASTERN BASKETBALL LEAGUE (EBL).
In 1978, the EBL became the CONTENTIAL BASKETBALL ASSOCIATION (CBA) with the legal right to use the name EASTERN BASKETBALL LEAGUE. This left the Mid-Atlantic States without a professional league.
Ingenious basketball people did not take long to fill the void – Al Version and his Pro-East league played for a number of years throughout the east.
To more permanently fill the void left by the loss of the EBL, a group of adventurous basketballers in the early 1990’s created the ATLANTIC BASKETBALL ASSOCIATION (ABA) which had a strong commitment from Pennsylvania.
Still another group played its inaugural 1996/97 season as the EASTERN BASKETBALL ALLIANCE (EBA). This league played the season with seven teams. In the fall of 1997, the EBA became organized and incorporated, and expanded to ten franchises, representing five different states.
The 1998 season featured teams located in Lancaster, PA; York, PA; Reading, PA; Harrisburg, PA; Wilkes-Barre, PA; Mercer County, NJ; Springfield, MA; Brooklyn, NY; Hudson Valley, NY; and New Haven, CT. The ‘98 season also marked the first time that the EBA elected a commissioner, in the person of Julius McCoy, and set up a league office.
In 1999, four EBA teams and two ABA teams joined together and played the season under the banner of UBA (United Basketball Alliance). This continued in 2000 and 2001 with nine teams participating.
2002 saw the league return to its historic and incorporated roots of the Eastern Basketball Alliance, where it flourishes today. Most noteworthy is the high-caliber of play, and the strength of individual franchises and of the league. Organizationally, the EBA has never been stronger, which, combined with the solid group of existing franchises, makes the EBA one of the fastest growing minor leagues in the country.
The Women’s Eastern Basketball Alliance, formed in 2003, is a women’s professional basketball minor league. The WEBA consists of five teams, representing four states. The WEBA has the same aspirations and goals as the EBA
The EBA/WEBA allows aspiring players the opportunity to showcase their skills and talents in a highly competitive league, while providing affordable, quality family entertainment. Players come from successful Division I, II, and III collegiate programs. The EBA/WEBA serve as a spring boards for many players who hope to take part in overseas leagues and in the NBA.