|The regional league will start the season as ABA League
The regional basketball league, which grew into one of the most
successful basketball organizations under the sponsorship of Nova
ljubljanska banka (NLB), will begin the 2011/12 season with the new
name ABA League. The new logo is already unveiled too.
League, also known as the NLB League as part of the naming rights
sponsorship (from 2001 to 2006 known as the Goodyear League), is a
top-level basketball league that features teams from Bosnia and
Herzegovina, Croatia, Montenegro, Serbia and Slovenia, all of which are
former republics of SFR Yugoslavia. The league is a private venture,
founded in 2001 and organized by Slovenian company Sidro d.o.o.
The league exists alongside scaled-down versions of domestic leagues in
each country. All of its teams join their country's own competitions in
late spring after the Adriatic League season has been finished. The
Adriatic Basketball Association, set up by Sidro company, is the body
that organizes the league and is a full member of ULEB and a voting
member of the Euroleague board, so this league can be considered as a
local version of the Europe-wide Euroleague, in which many Adriatic
League clubs also compete.
This league has inspired a similar competition in
the Baltic states, the Baltic Basketball League or Baltic League.
The league was founded on July 3, 2001 with 12 teams, and started
competition in fall 2001. The league had 4 teams from Slovenia, 4 teams
from Croatia, 3 teams from Bosnia-Herzegovina, and 1 team from FR
For the 2002-03 season, the league remained at 12 teams, with one team
dropping out and Israeli powerhouse Maccabi Tel Aviv joining.
Maccabi left the league after one season, but the league expanded to 14
teams for 2003-04, and to 16 for 2004-05.
The league reverted to 14 teams for 2005-06. In
September 2006 the league signed a general sponsorship contract with
Nova ljubljanska banka (NLB) and was renamed to NLB League, whilst
keeping Goodyear as one of the major sponsor.
Like most European leagues, the regular season consists of a double
round-robin schedule, with each team playing every other team home and
away. The top teams in the league then advance to a playoff round to
crown the league champion.
From 2002 through 2004, four teams qualified, and the playoffs were
termed the "Final Four"; starting in 2005, eight teams advanced to the
"Final Eight" round. All playoff rounds consist of one-off knockout
matches, unusual among European leagues. However, since all Adriatic
League clubs play in domestic leagues at the same time, and many also
play in the Euroleague, the current format has the virtue of limiting
fixture congestion for the playoff sides.