National Women's Basketball League

National Women's Basketball League

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National Women's Basketball League

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The National Women's Basketball League, often abbreviated to the NWBL, was an organization governing professional basketball leagues for women in the United States. The league was founded in 1997 and began play in the Fall of that year. The league used to have its own season during the off-season of the WNBA. During the off-season, some WNBA players would play in the NWBL, while some would choose to play overseas. The league ceased operations some time in 2007.


In contrast to the ABL and the WNBA before it, the NWBL was founded to govern a competitive amateur league for women. The NWBL was founded in 1997, in the shadow of both the ABL and the WNBA. The league is considered to be the brainchild of Patrick Alexander and Kevin Szotkowski, who saw the rapid growth of women's athletics of the time and decided to go into the business of promoting women athletes. With the assistance of former college basketball players and NWBL co-founders Jolynn Schneider and Jeanine Michealsen, Alexander and Szotkowski launched an aggressive marketing campaign in the Fall of 1997 to recruit players and teams.

Although the recruitment campaign was not without its problems (including the death of Nick Johnson, co-founder of the marketing firm behind the league), the NWBL enrolled four teams by November and held its first championship series in December 1997. The first four teams enrolled were the San Diego Waves (considered to be the first NWBL team), the Columbus Lady Blazers, the...
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