Basketball has been a popular sport in Maryland for many years.

Baltimore Orioles. Maryland entered the world of professional basketball when the American Basketball League (ABL) transferred one of its New York franchises—the Buffalo Bisons—to Baltimore City before the start of the 1926-1927 season. Rechristened the Baltimore Orioles, the team played its home games in Carlin’s Dance Palace at Carlin’s Amusement Park (formerly Liberty Heights Park) on the northwestern corner of Reisterstown Road and Druid Park Avenue. After a lackluster campaign on the court, the Orioles ceased operations at the end of March 1927 when the Baltimore Basketball and Exhibition Company went bankrupt, indebted to the General Outdoor Advertising Company.

Baltimore Clippers. Baltimore’s second foray into professional basketball coincided with the opening of a new 6,200-seat indoor arena—the Baltimore Coliseum—at 2201 North Monroe Street. Following the 1938-1939 season, the American Basketball League (ABL) transferred yet another New York franchise, the Brooklyn Visitations, to Baltimore, where the team assumed its new identity as the Baltimore Clippers. Though one player on the Clippers—Robert F. (Bobby) McDermott, ABL scoring champion in 1939-1940—attained individual success, the team as a whole did not. After two seasons in the Baltimore Coliseum, the Clippers folded shortly before the 1941-1942 season.

Baltimore Bullets. From 1944 to 1973, several teams were called the Baltimore Bullets. The first Bullets team played from 1944 to 1947 in the American Basketball League. After joining the Basketball Association of America in 1947, the Bullets won the League Championship in 1948. When the Basketball Association of America became part of the National Basketball Association in 1949, the Bullets remained in that league until the team disbanded in 1954. The next Baltimore Bullets team played in the Eastern Professional Basketball League from 1958 to 1961, winning the Championship in their final year. The last Baltimore Bullets team, formerly the Chicago Zephyrs, played from 1963 until 1973.

Capital Bullets. In 1973, the Baltimore Bullets moved to Landover, Maryland, and changed their name to the Capital Bullets.

Baltimore BayRunners. In the Baltimore Arena, the Baltimore BayRunners played during the 1999-2000 season. This team was a charter member of the locally-based International Basketball League (IBL), a professional eight-team league headquartered on the eighth floor of the Baltimore World Trade Center. In its brief two-year existence, the League had a nationwide presence. During its first year, outside of Maryland, the League fielded teams in California (San Diego Stingrays), Missouri (St. Louis Swarm), Nevada (Las Vegas Silver Bandits), New Jersey (Trenton Shooting Stars), New Mexico (New Mexico Slam), Ohio (Cincinnati Stuff), and Virginia (Richmond Rhythm).

The BayRunners played in the IBL East Conference, along with Cincinnati, Richmond, and Trenton. The IBL West Conference included Las Vegas, New Mexico, San Diego, and St. Louis. Six out of the eight teams were owned by individual owners, with the remaining two—Baltimore and Las Vegas—being owned by the League itself. Before the League’s inaugural season, Cal Ripken, Jr., star baseball player for the Baltimore Orioles, became a minority owner, when he purchased 10% of the BayRunners. He agreed to purchase the remaining 90% from the League when, and if, additional investors were secured. Yet, after one year, no additional investors stepped forward. Without a viable long-term owner, the Baltimore BayRunners suspended operations in November 2000, shortly before the start of its second season.

Despite Baltimore no longer having a team, the League remained in operation, headquartered in Baltimore, for the 2000-2001 season. In February 2001, the League expanded when it absorbed teams from the defunct Continental Basketball Association (CBA) in five states: Connecticut (Connecticut Pride), Illinois (Rockford Lightning), Indiana (Gary Steelheads), Michigan (Grand Rapids Hoops), and South Dakota (Sioux Falls Skyforce). The League folded that summer of 2001.

There are several semi-professional basketball teams in Maryland. The American Basketball Association (ABA), a minor league that formed in 1999, has several Maryland teams including the Baltimore Hawks, the
Maryland Nationals, and the PG Valor in Clinton.

[Diamondback Terrapin mascot, University of Maryland] COLLEGIATE BASKETBALL
Collegiate basketball also has been important in Maryland. Following its early start in 1904 as a club team of the Maryland Agricultural College, the
University of Maryland, College Park's Maryland Terrapins, or Terps, found great success in the subsequent decades.

Fear the Turtle. Diamondback Terrapin mascot, University of Maryland, College Park.

In 1931, the Maryland Terrapins won the Southern Conference tournament and, in 1932, they were the Conference's regular season champions.

The Maryland Terrapins won the national championship in the men's Division I basketball tournament of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) on April 1, 2002, beating Indiana University at Atlanta, Georgia.

On March 14, 2004, the Maryland Terrapins beat Duke University to win the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) men's basketball tournament. In 2004, the Terps also made their 11th straight trip to the Division I basketball tournament of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA).

Also in 2004, the Terps were the tournament champions for the third time, following 1958 and 1984.

In April 2006, the University of Maryland, College Park's Maryland Terrapins women's team won the national championship at the women's Division I tournament of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) in Boston, Massachusetts. The Terrapins defeated Duke University 78-75 in overtime for their first NCAA basketball title.

In March 2010, the Terrapins ended the regular season tied with Duke University for first place in the Atlantic Coast Conference.

In 2014, the Terps left the Atlantic Coast Conference for the Big Ten Conference.

As of 2016, the Terps have played in 14 Sweet Sixteen Tournaments.

In 2020, the Terps were the Conference regular season champions for the sixth time, having won previously in 1975, 1980, 1995, 2002, and 2010.

As of 2023, the Terps have made 30 NCAA Tournament appearances.

The University of Maryland Baltimore County's Retrievers men's basketball team were the America East Conference Tournament champions in 2008 and 2018. Also, on March 16, 2018, the Retrievers became the first no. 16 seed to defeat a no. 1 seed (University of Virginia Cavaliers) during the NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Tournament, in what was called the "greatest upset in college basketball history."

The Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association (CIAA), the nation's oldest African-American athletic conference, was founded on Feb. 2, 1912 at Hampton Institute, Virginia. Originally called the Colored Intercollegiate Athletic Association, it took its current name in December 1950. In March 1952, the Association held its Basketball Tournament for the first time in Baltimore. The Tournament returned to Baltimore in February 2022, and will continue here through 2026. The Tournament had a total economic impact of $29.6 million in 2023, and generated $2.5 million in State and local taxes, up from $19.6 million and $1.9 million, respectively, in 2022. The next Tournament will be held at CFG Bank Arena in Baltimore in February 2025.

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