What is The Basketball League (TBL)?

The Basketball League (TBL) is a professional basketball organization formerly known as North American Premier Basketball (NAPB). It is a lesser-known league in the United States, but also an important player in the realm of basketball leagues. It’s because TBL offers a unique platform for athletes to compete, develop their skills, and potentially advance to higher levels of play.

While the TBL might not have the widespread recognition of major leagues like the NBA, it serves as a crucial stepping stone for emerging talent and provides basketball enthusiasts with exciting and competitive games to enjoy. If you are interested to learn more about it, you’re in the right place. In this article, we’re going to tackle the historical background, structure, and gameplay of The Basketball League.

History of The Basketball League

The Basketball League (TBL) was founded as a response to the demand for additional opportunities for basketball players to showcase their talents beyond the more widely recognized professional leagues. A new professional basketball league was announced on July 7, 2017, by Sev Hrywnak and Dave Magley. Magley was a former commissioner for the National Basketball League of Canada (NBLC), and Hyrwanak, on the other hand, was the owner of the Rochester Razorsharks, a professional basketball team in New York.

The teams are based throughout the United States and Western Canada. After two years, the league management found cities where basketball teams from the defunct Continental Basketball Association, the Premier Basketball League, former NBA teams, and other potential sports markets. The goal of the league is to provide opportunities for community involvement, specifically in schools from the elementary to high school levels. Players from the league read to younger kids as part of the league’s initiatives, and they also run basketball camps for teenagers and speak at assemblies for the entire school about staying in school and avoiding substance abuse.

The Albany Patroons, Kansas City Tornados, Kentucky Thoroughbreds, Nevada Desert Dogs, Ohio Cardinals, Rochester Razorsharks, Vancouver Knights, and Yakima SunKings were the eight clubs that made up the league’s inaugural 2018 season. The Ohio Bootleggers, a team run by the old Vancouver Knights ownership, took over for the Ohio Cardinals in the middle of the season.

Dave Magley announced on February 25, 2018, that four more franchises in Bellevue, Washington, Raleigh, North Carolina, Tampa, Florida, and San Diego, California, had been granted, bringing the total number of well-funded teams for the 2019 season up to 16.

Following the first NAPB season, Magley became the league’s sole owner, relocated the organization’s offices to Indiana, and appointed his wife, Evelyn Magley, as the new CEO. The league changed its name to The Basketball League (TBL) on July 14.  The league’s commissioner for the 2019 season was Paul Mokeski, who served as the Nevada Desert Dogs’ head coach and general manager during the team’s inaugural campaign.

The Ohio Bootleggers, Rochester Razorsharks, and Vancouver Knights all disbanded during the league changes, while the Bellevue squad never materialized. The Jamestown Jackals and New York Court Kings were then added to the league, along with the three previously revealed expansion teams, the Raleigh Firebirds, San Diego Waves, and Tampa Bay Titans. The Kansas City Tornadoes, Mesquite Desert Dogs, and Owensboro Thoroughbreds are three additional teams that underwent a little rebranding. Ten teams were in the 2019 season when it started.

Numerous games were postponed or canceled during the second season. The New York Court Kings and Kansas City Tornadoes either folded or stopped operations for the season, forcing the league to cut its season short.

Before the third season, the league welcomed the Tri-State Admirals, Lewisville Yellow Jackets, Gulf Coast Lions, Indy Express, Columbus Condors, and Dayton Flight as expansion teams. While the San Diego Waves were being relocated, the expansion San Diego Armada took their place. However, neither club was able to compete in the 2020 season.

The Mesquite Desert Dogs and the Yakima Sun Kings stopped playing since there were no other Western teams. The third season began in January 2020, but on March 11, 2020, the league declared that the COVID-19 pandemic would cause the season to finish early and force a four-team playoff from March 18 to 22. However, the competition was also canceled because the majority of events around the nation were shut down to stop the virus from spreading.

The league then announced a number of additional teams for the 2021 season, increasing the number of teams from 12 in the shortened 2020 season to 35 by January 11, 2021. The American Basketball Association’s semi-professional league provided a number of new teams. The National Basketball League of Canada (NBLC) announced that it had reached an agreement to play interleague series with various teams from The Basketball League for the 2021–22 season. The games between the teams from the two leagues are counted toward each league’s regular-season standings.

The Structure of The Basketball League

The Basketball League (TBL) differs from other basketball leagues in how it runs, thanks to its unique organizational structure. This organization includes the split of teams into ownership groups, management of the league, and inclusion of distinctive elements that help define it.

Organizational Structure

TBL is governed by a central body responsible for setting rules, regulations, and overall direction for the league. A dedicated administrative team manages day-to-day operations, including marketing, scheduling, and player relations. Individual teams have private owners or ownership groups who support the league’s financial stability.

Team Divisions and Conferences

Teams in the league are grouped into divisions based on geographical proximity or other considerations. This allows for organized competition and ease of scheduling. In addition to that, divisions are further grouped into conferences, fostering regional rivalries and determining playoff matchups.

Unique Features

The TBL places a strong emphasis on interacting with local communities through a variety of projects, which adds to the league’s attractiveness to fans at all income levels. Also, TBL might set itself apart by allowing women’s teams to participate alongside men’s teams, giving female athletes a place to do so on a professional level.

League Schedule and Format

Each team in the league plays a specific number of games throughout the TBL regular season, allowing for head-to-head competition among divisions and conferences. The TBL playoffs, which consist of a series of elimination rounds with clubs advancing based on their regular season play, determine the league champion.

Player Development and Advancement

Talent that wants to climb the basketball ladder is drawn to the TBL as a scouting ground for higher-level leagues. It’s because players in the TBL have the chance to show off their abilities and attract scouts, which could result in contracts with more prestigious leagues.

The Basketball League’s distinctive league format not only offers a stage for basketball competition but also encourages community involvement and acts as a stepping stone for athletes hoping to establish themselves in the wider basketball world.

TBL’s Season Format and Gameplay

The Basketball League (TBL) offers a season format that is exciting and competitive, and that highlights the abilities of its teams and players. The season’s format, the level of competition, and the playoffs schedule all add to the thrills and enjoyment for both spectators and players. TBL follows standard basketball rules, with slight modifications to accommodate the unique characteristics of the league. Players and teams compete at a high level, striving to secure victories and improve their standings.

Regular Season Structure

The teams in The Basketball League participate in a set number of regular-season games. These games are often played over several months. The teams engage in a mix of home and away games, which gives them an opportunity to connect with both local and distant fan bases. Teams primarily face opponents within their divisions, fostering divisional rivalries and determining playoff seeding.

Playoffs Qualification, Format, and Championship Determination

The teams that perform well during the regular season qualify for the TBL playoffs, showcasing the most successful teams. The playoffs have multiple stages, such as elimination rounds, semifinals, and the championship series. The TBL Championship is determined through a playoff series, where the best-performing teams compete for the coveted title. The playoffs bring heightened intensity and drama, creating memorable moments and showcasing the competitiveness of the league.

Fan Engagement and Experience

Fans attend games to support their teams, which contributes to a vibrant atmosphere and creates a sense of community. In addition to that, TBL games may also be televised, streamed online, or covered by media outlets. These allow fans to watch the action of the games even if they cannot attend in person.


The Basketball League is among the many leagues that have carved out a significant place in the world of professional basketball. In addition to being a sports league, it is also a platform that embodies the spirit of competition, community, and love for the game of basketball. We hope this article helped you learn more about what The Basketball League (TBL) is.