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Will Birmingham join the Continental Basketball League?

April 5, 2012
James Barney says he reached an agreement with the Continental Basketball League to bring a team to Birmingham in 2013.

The team will be known as the Birmingham Lions.

     Continental Basketball League logo
The CBL has been in Birmingham since 2010, with the Birmingham Steel and then the Birmingham Sabers. The Steel switched leagues mid-season to the World Basketball Association Exposure League. The Sabers played for the remainder of the year after the Steel jumped leagues and also played in 2011. The current status of the Sabers is unknown at this point.

"As you know, basketball in Birmingham has not been a success. I am going to try a new approach. I selected the CBL because the league runs a short 10-12 game season (May and June) and plays in small venues. I expect to play five to six home games in the Birmingham area in 2013 in venues seating no more than 200-300 fans in order to keep the costs low. I believe that most other teams failed because they committed to large venues and paid a tremendous amount in advertising in their first years," Barney said.

"The logo is strongly influenced by European/English football (soccer) clubs. Thus, I really want to cultivate the community based club feel of European/English football clubs, where the local community feels that they are invested in the team and its survival. In the UK, a very small city can turn out thousands each weekend for a football match. I purposefully adopted the logo and avoided the overworked references to steel, Vulcan, etc. In selecting and creating the logo, I was very much influenced by the Lion of Judah which is the symbol of Ethiopia and the (recent) birth of a group of lions at the Birmingham Zoo," Barney said.

"I am really doing this to help a few (local) charities and to build a sense of community in Birmingham. I also wanted to create something that was very different from what has been tried in Birmingham before," Barney said.

The Birmingham Lions were never able to properly organize, and even if they had, it would not have mattered.

After the 2011 season, most of the Continental Basketball League's teams fled to other leagues, effectively ending the CBL.
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Last update: May 14, 2020