The Amateur Basketball Association of Ireland was formed in 1947. After 25 years of All-Ireland Championships based on a Club & County basis like in the GAA, the ABAI created the first National Basketball League based on clubs in 1972-73.
In 1979-80 St. Vincent’s Killarney brought in two paid American Imports, contrary to the rules of the ABAI, but after taking no action against them for most of the season, they relented having seen how many fans it was bringing in, and allowed paid imports, changing the name of the Association to the Irish Basketball Association to reflect this. This era, from 1980-1991 is regarded by many in Irish Basketball as its “Golden Era”.
The first Ladies National Basketball League was also formed around this time in the late-1970s. After a few seasons both Men’s and Ladies added a second division.
In 1991 the Association merged the Men’s Divisions 1 & 2 into one National Basketball League, with two conferences: North & South. at the same time it reduced the number of paid American Imports from two to one, thinking the Irish playerscould make the step up. The fans lost interest, however, with just one American on the teams, and it is regarded as the end of the “Golden Era”. After two seasons under this format, the two division set-up was reinstated, with Divisions 1 & 2 now named the Super League & Division 1.
In 1991, the Ladies League also got a slight name-change to the Women’s National Basketball League and in 1997 Divisions 1 & 2 were merged into one Super League. Below the Super League was a Women’s Regional League, playing 2-3 games a weekend for each team in the one venue.
The Irish Basketball Association was rebranded in 2003 as Basketball Ireland, and the two Conference (North & South) model was again reintroduced, although the two Division (2 levels) set-up was retained. The Women’s 2nd Level was reinstated at this time also, although the Women’s Divisions never had North & South Conferences.
In 2013 the Super League underwent a name-change to the Premier League, as a drastic attempt was made to fix the National Leagues and the massive debt Basketball Ireland had built up. In 2016 the Super League brand made a comeback and by 2019 it was stated on the Basketball Ireland website that the €1.4 Million debt was paid off.
National Basketball League Finals
National Basketball League | Men’s Level 1
National Basketball League Men’s Level 1 (Decade / Era Overviews)
IBA NBL Men’s Division 1 1979-1991 (Seasons): 1990-91
National Basketball League | Women’s Level 1
National Basketball League Women’s Level 1 (Decade / Era Overviews)
BI NL Women’s Premier League 2013-2016 (Seasons): 2015-16
IBA NBL Women’s Division 1 1991-1997 (Seasons): 1991-92
IBA NBL Ladies Division 1 1979-1991 (Seasons): 1990-91
National Basketball League | Men’s Level 2
National Basketball League Men’s Level 2 (Decade / Era Overviews):
National Basketball League | Women’s Level 2
National Basketball League Women’s Level 2 (Decade / Era Overviews):
IBA NBL Women’s Division 2 1991-1997 (Seasons): 1991-92
IBA NBL Ladies Division 2 1979-1991 (Seasons): 1990-91
National Basketball League | Under 20 Men’s
BI Under 20 Men’s National League (Seasons): 2019-20