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1991-92 Louisville Shooters

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Global Basketball Association (1991-1992)

Born: 1991 – GBA founding franchise
Folded: November 1992

Arena: Louisville Gardens

Team Colors:

Owners:

GBA Championships: None

 

The Louisville Shooters were an ill-fated pro basketball outfit in the forgotten Global Basketball Association. The GBA began play in November 1991 with eleven franchises. Most were clustered in small cities in the Southeastern United States, but the league’s borders stretched as far west as Wichita, Kansas and north to Saginaw, Michigan.

Team founder Jim Tilton was a realtor and University of Louisville grad without the personal resources to fund a pro basketball team. But Tilton secured some financial backing from former Cleveland Cavaliers owner Ted Stepien to get the Shooters off the ground in 1991.

The Shooters signed some decent talent, including  ex-Louisville stars Jerome Harmon and Milt Wagner, former Boston Celtic Kelvin Upshaw, minor league war horse Alfrederick Hughes, and guard Eldridge Recasner, a recent grad from the University of Washington. Former Ole Miss and American Basketball Association star Johnny Neumann signed on as head coach.

The team hit financial headwinds pretty much immediately. Less than two months into the Shooters first season, Jim Tilton announced the team was in search of new capital. The Shooters finished the 1991-92 GBA season with a 35-29 record, good for second place in the league’s Western Division. The team was due to play the league’s best team, the Mid-Michigan Great Lakers, in the first round of the 1992 playoffs. But the Shooters declined to participate in the postseason for financial reasons and forfeited the series.

New owner David Gleason took over the team in July 1992. Improbably, the Shooters returned and attempted to stage a second season in November 1992. But the club folded after playing just three games. The rest of the Global Basketball Association followed the Shooters into the dustbin of history a month later. The league went out of business on December 19, 1992.

Jerome Harmon and Eldridge Recasner both went on to play in the NBA. While Harmon’s career lasted just 10 games with the Philadelphia 76ers in 1994-95, Recasner played for the better part of eight seasons in the NBA from 1994 until 2002.

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Written by Drew Crossley

February 14th, 2018 at 4:25 am

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