Semi Pro Basketball League Salaries (ABA Basketball Salary, TBL & More!)
Semi Pro Basketball League Salary (USA)
Player Salary Ranges
$50 - $3,000/per month
Most Commonly Reported Player Salary
US$50 - $200/mth
MAX Player Salary
Lowest Reported Salary
Semi-Pro Leagues Reviewed (Total)
Sources (Players, Coaches, Media, GMs)
Source : Josecolorado.com, Professional Basketball Players Survey Data 
semi pro basketball league salary
Today, the vast majority of North American Semi Pro basketball league salaries will be between US$50 - $200/per month.
However, many play for free (experience). A select few MAX out at roughly US$3,000/per month.
According to our overseas basketball salaries study that examined 100+ leagues worldwide, North American Semi Pro is, thus, in the lowest pay grade in overseas basketball!
I know what you’re thinking:
Semi-Pro isn’t even professional basketball - nor is it an overseas league.
Yes - that is true!
But because so many aspiring and current overseas basketball players use Semi Pro, I had to include it in my list of basketball leagues.
Today, there are over 300+ Semi-Pro teams in the U.S.A. today!
So it is very tough to regulate this system.
That means players need to know where the best connections, network, film and - yes, money, are.
Let’s break down those options below.
ABA Basketball league
Established in 1999 and with over 100+ registered teams the American Basketball Association (ABA) is by far the most popular and well-known Semi Pro basketball league in the United States today.
And in case if you wondering:
No - it doesn’t bear any relation to the former ABA (1967 - 1976) that merged with the NBA in 1976.
Other than the fact that the ABA of today still uses the iconic Red-White-Blue ball to play with.
Even though there is no affiliation between the two ABAs, learning about the old school ABA is still loads of fun if you’re playing in the modern ABA.
It makes the experience all the more fulfilling knowing the history and sentiment behind the league.
ABA Basketball Salary
Many ABA basketball salaries will be between US$50 - $100/per month. However, some players make more as ABA teams typically provide alternative funding resources (coaching, selling tickets) to attract players.
In that way:
A player can actually play a significant role in determining how much money they make in the ABA.
But a key point here:
Sometimes that $50 -$100 is meant to cover cost travel expenses (gas, food).
In that way you would be actually taking home much less since those additional expenses would eat away at your salary.
Some players may just want to play ball - and aren’t worried about money.
That’s completely fine.
But if you want to make money playing in the ABA then you, essentially, have two options:
Play on a top-tier team (we’ll get there in a second)
Do it on your own through the team’s resources (selling tickets, coaching)
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On that latter point:
Here’s some common options ABA players are given to make more money by their teams:
Players selling tickets to home games and keeping the profits
Players coaching youth programs
Players working at a team sponsor’s workplace
Players putting on speaking engagements in the community
Players coaching at international camps
There are many ways ABA teams can get creative when it comes to paying its players.
So this is a positive when it comes to hooping in the ABA!
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But there’s also a dark side to the ABA.
Today’s ABA is wildly erratic.
Reports indicate that since 2000, over 400 teams have folded!
That’s largely because the ABA grants owners a team primarily based on whether the owner can pay the franchise fee (upfront cost).
Little consideration is actually given to the long-term picture.
You see, often owners can’t actually afford to operate their clubs years into the future.
And as you can guess:
That has led to immense:
Instability (teams folding and joining always)
Player frustrations (unprofessional environments)
Disorganization (teams unable to make games because of lack of funding)
Then there’s the ABA official game rules - opening up an entirely different can of worms.
ABA Basketball Rules
ABA basketball rules vary considerably from FIBA. However, the defining rule differences between the two associations must be the ABA’s 4-point shot and the 3D Rule (extra point awarded for field goal/free-throw following a back-court turnover).
For this reason, many FIBA leagues/teams simply won’t take the ABA seriously.
In case you didn’t know:
The ABA wants scoring - and lots of it.
It gets to the point where games almost can’t be taken seriously.
When I played in the ABA, score lines regularly reached 130-140 points per team. Nowadays, I often see the same when looking at box scores.
A 4-point shot and the 3D Rule definitely help get there.
But so do 12-minute quarters (FIBA is 10 minutes).
In the end:
Overseas teams know this.
They know stats are inflated and little defense is being played.
For that reason:
Coming out of the ABA to an overseas league - if that is your goal - could potentially prove even more difficult.
So players be warned.
There is one ABA team that could, however, provide a legitimate opportunity above the rest.
ABA Basketball Teams
Today, there are 130+ ABA basketball teams. Amongst them, the Jacksonville Giants must be considered the golden standard.
Winners of a league-record 7 ABA championships, the Giants are considered the best ABA team ever.
Since 2010, Jacksonville has won 7/11 times. They’re like the 90s Bulls of the ABA.
ABA teams come and go.
So if a franchise has been able to remain in place for a while then there’s likely a solid foundation at that organization.
Why else would players - and fans - continuously come back to these franchises?
In the end:
When it comes to the ABA, it’s all about priorities.
You have to ask yourself:
What are you trying to achieve by suiting up for an ABA roster?
Professionalism and real opportunity: Sign with Jacksonville for the closest thing to a sure thing
Just to get a sweat in: Sign with any ABA team
Networking opportunities: Sign with respected (tenured) ABA teams
If your ultimate goal is to play overseas then there could be better Semi Pro leagues out there.
Semi pro basketball leagues
Semi Pro Basketball Leagues (United States of America)
American Basketball Association (ABA)
East Coast Basketball League (ECBL)
Evolution Basketball Association (EBA)
Universal Basketball Association (UBA)
Maximum Basketball League (MBL)
Pro Basketball Association (PBA)
United Men’s Basketball League (UMBL)
Midwest Professional Basketball Association (MPBA)
The Basketball League (TBL)
Triple Threat Basketball League (TTBL)
Today, the USA offers dozens of active Semi Pro basketball leagues to overseas basketball players. Amongst them, the ABA is the most popular but the TBL is the highest-paying.
But when it comes to the TBL make sure to target its marquees teams (Albany Patroons, Syracuse Stallions).
Otherwise: Players tell me there is a steep decline in income and professionalism.
Similar to the ABA, Semi Pro Leagues in the United States are all over the place.
Every year there are leagues and teams:
Switching over to other leagues/associations
Merging with other leagues/associations
Even that list above is just a handful of the Semi Pro leagues offered in the United States today. There are many more.
Quite frankly - it’s exhausting keeping up with the Semi Pro basketball scene.
So according to insiders:
The important thing here is not to consider the Semi Pro league itself - but the owners.
Many of these Semi Pro leagues are the same.
Many players play for free
Those who do earn cash will be paid very little ($50 - $200).
Teams will fold
And the league(s) won’t do much about it
The important part then is to find good owners who have a good reputation and who you can trust.
An even better alternative?
Understand the overarching purpose and principles of Semi Pro basketball and use it to your advantage and situation.
If YOU can do that, then Semi Pro can be a very useful tool for players to achieve your overseas basketball dreams.
Is semi pro basketball legit?
Is Semi Pro Basketball Legit? (Pros & Cons)
Can be disorganized
Watered down (many teams)
Fill in gap years
Not respected by many leagues, regions
Different rules (ABA)
Potential connections to international leagues
Unstable (teams fold a lot)
Today, many Semi Pro basketball leagues position themselves as opportunity and “springboard leagues” for aspiring professional basketball players.
Rarely is money the selling point of Semi Professional basketball nowadays.
But this wasn’t always the case.
Many years ago the Continental Basketball Association (CBA) both (a.) paid the majority of its players while also (b.) providing them a great stepping stone to the NBA.
For all intents and purposes, the CBA was what the modern day G-League is.
The CBA’s importance quickly began to dwindle when the NBA launched its own development league - the D-League - in 2001.
From there, players - obviously - viewed the D-League as the stepping stone to the NBA.
Meanwhile, other minor leagues began to pop up to challenge the CBA.
Paul Shirley’s Book Can I Keep My Jersey? does a good job of outlining the importance and journey of the CBA and minor leagues in general.
He regularly split time between the CBA - NBA - and overseas leagues - sometimes opting to play in the CBA rather than overseas.
Check it out below if interested.
That takes us to today - where an oversaturated Semi-Pro basketball market exists.
Nowadays - outside of a select few franchises - Semi-Pro salaries will be very low.
But as mentioned, that isn’t really the purpose of Semi-Pro basketball anymore.
Today, it is marketed as something that will push an aspiring pro players' careers forward.
In that regard:
Semi-Pro basketball can still serve as a great vehicle for players.
But it will depend on your situation.
In my personal case, I used Semi-Pro on multiple occasions to get overseas.
The first instance was when I went to play in El Salvador.
At the time I had a gap year in my resume (year off following university).
A team in El Salvador was concerned if I was still in good playing shape and asked for up-to-date film.
So I used Semi-Pro to get that film.
I played a few games with the Vancouver Balloholics (ABA) and voila!
I was on my way to signing my first pro contract in under a month’s time.
On a separate occasion, a team in Spain was interested in signing me.
The only issue was I had taken some months off at the time due to the global health crisis.
But I knew Semi-Pro could help.
So I grabbed my phone and immediately messaged a well-connected Semi-Pro coach in the region for help.
At the time games were getting cancelled left, right and centre as the American - Canadian border was closed.
As a result, this opportunity never actually came to fruition.
If I had Semi Pro available at the time, I think it would have happened.
The fact remains that Semi-Pro has helped hundreds of players in situations similar to mine throughout the years.
But it gets better:
That’s because today many Semi-Pro basketball leagues have direct access to international markets.
Many Semi Pro are keen on building relationships with other Pro leagues (usually in Latin America). This allows Semi Pro players direct access to the market.
One example of this can be found in the Universal Basketball Association.
There, the UBA CEO became the majority owner of a professional club in the Dominican Republic.
Who do you think he’ll be taking as his imports?
Previously the PBA also marketed similar opportunities in Mexico.
what is semi pro basketball
Semi Pro basketball can be defined as when a player is participating in a competitive league (championship format) with only a select few players receiving payment on each team.
Now before you get on with your day, let’s get something straight:
Traditionally, Semi Pro basketball has been defined by two things:
It’s not your full-time job
You need an additional job to make income
But this is wrong on many levels.
Today, NBA players have multiple streams of income outside of playing.
Yes - some do that because they are saving or investing their money.
But others “need it” as they blow through their cash faster than they can make it.
Think of the ESPN 30-for-30 documentary, Broke.
By the traditional Semi-Pro definition, NBA players would then be considered Semi-Pro since they are:
Equally as invested in other ventures (e.g. sponsorships, brand deals)
Need additional money outside of playing
But does anyone look at NBA hoopers like that?
Not a chance.
Everyone’s standard of living is different.
Some players can live off $700/per month (I’ve seen it first-hand).
While others need $7,000/per month.
So it’s impossible to define Semi-Pro by income levels and whether “you need additional income outside of playing.”
In the vast majority of international basketball leagues, players will have multiple streams of income - even at the higher levels!
So by this definition, nearly every overseas hooper would be Semi-Pro; a ridiculous statement.
In the end:
Think of Semi-Pro as:
A competitive league (regular season, playoffs)
Some players get paid on each team
But the majority of players won’t get paid on every team
Whereas in professional basketball the vast majority of players in the league will be earning an income.
Some pro leagues won’t pay everyone (youth development players).
But that doesn’t mean the league is Semi-Pro.
So there you have it.
The most in-depth look at Semi-Pro basketball leagues and salaries on the market today.
Whichever league you choose to pursue, make sure you are clear on what you are trying to achieve in your basketball career.
Otherwise, Semi-Pro basketball can be a bit of a sticky situation for aspiring overseas basketball players.
Nowadays, Semi-Pro basketball is more of an exposure platform for players
Semi-Pro basketball leagues include the ABA, UBA, TBL, TTBL, ECBL and more
Semi-Pro basketball salaries generally range from $50 - $200/per month
The ABA is the most popular Semi Pro basketball league in North America
The highest-paying Semi Pro league is the TBL
What Semi Pro basketball league are you most interested in?
Comment below and let me know!
Jose Colorado is a 6-year professional basketball player helping others achieve their dreams of pro basketball with a proven and tested approach to overseas basketball.