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GABL History

Great American Basketball League was founded in 1974 when Roger Siuda and L.D. "Mac" McDonald could not find a basketball league in which their 4th grade boys could play. By the winter season of 1977-78, 109 boys teams in grades 3-7 were competing in GABL during the winter. Today, more than 8,000 boys and girls in 1st grade through high school play in GABL leagues year-round.

Following are some milestones in GABL's growth and organization:

  • GABL was incorporated as a non-profit organization in January 1977 and contributions to the league became tax deductible that same year.
  • In 1995, Sports Management Associates, L.C. was hired to handle the league's day-to-day operations. SMA President Rich Hunter was named executive director.
  • GABL began to offer league play outside of the traditional winter season in 1997. Both the Spring and Summer Leagues began that year. The Fall League was added in 2001.
  • In 2000-01, GABL began accepting registrants from areas within Johnson County that were outside of the Shawnee Mission School District.
  • That same year, the boys high school program was reinstated with the addition of a 9th grade league. Within three years, the program grew to include all four levels of high school play.
  • A 2nd grade developmental program (3-on-3) for boys began in 2000-01. In 2002-03, the 3-on-3 program expanded to include 1st and 2nd grade boys and girls. The program was opened to kindergartners in 2004-05.
  • The girls 5-on-5 program began in 2002-03 for grades 2-4. This program now has about 1,000 players annually and is open to girls in grades 1 through high school.
  • Also in 2002-03, the boys 5-on-5 program expanded to include 2nd grade.
  • In 2003-04, participation in the winter program eclipsed the 4,000 mark (435 teams) for the first time.
  • KidHoops, a child development program for pre-kindergarten children (ages 3, 4 and 5) was added. Children are introduced to basketball skills with the help of a parent and GABL instructors.
  • In 2009-10, the 501 (C) 3 corporation was renamed the GABL Youth Sports Foundation. The Great American Basketball League remains the Foundation's flagship program. KidHoops and the 3-on-3 development program were moved under the umbrella of the GABL Academy.
  • In 2010-11, 5-on-5 leagues were offered for boys and girls in first grade.
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