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19. 12. 2016

WoV BLOG: Professional volleyball league in USA (1975-1979) – Wilt Chamberlain and his role in it

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Have you ever wondered why Americans do not have a professional volleyball league? There are a few answers and one of them says that there is not enough sponsorship money in it.


The truth is that USA had their professional volleyball league. Back in 1975, they founded International Volleyball Association that was a short lived co-ed professional league in USA. It lasted until 1979.

Volleyball life of Wilt Chamberlain and his role in the league

How many of you know that Wilt Chambrlain was a volleyball player? Probably, you don’t know this fact. After his basketball career in NBA, Wilt became a member of International Volleyball Association board. But, it was not his only role. He loved volleyball so much that he decided to participate in professional league, with a goal to attract more fans and sponsors.

He was a front line player of Seattle Smashers. IVA’s All-star game was organized and broadcasted, and guess who won the MVP award – legendary Wilt Chamberlain.

Wilt gave a huge contribution to volleyball and he earned a spot in volleyball Hall of Fame.


Like other sports leagues, the league had two geographic divisions. It is interesting that there were not men’s and women’s leagues– they competed on the same teams.

In the first season, there were five teams: Los Angeles Stars, San Diego Breakers, Santa Barbara Spikers, Southern California Bangers and El Paso-Juarez Sol.

In the playoff finals, Los Angeles defeated San Diego 3-1 in series to take the crown.

In 1976, there were two divisions. San Diego took the revenge on Los Angeles, beating them 3-1 in playoff finals series…

Orange County Stars were the successors of the Los Angeles Stars and they managed to win championship title in 1977, beating El Paso Juarez in playoffs finals. After five matches, the result was 3-2.

Santa Barbara were the champions in 1978, while Tucson dethroned them in 1979, beating Santa Barba in the final series 3-2.

It means, Tucson Sky are the last champions of the USA, when we talk about professional volleyball league.

Here are all teams that participated in the USA professional league in period (1975-1979), according to Wikipedia:

Santa Barbara Spikers 1975–1979
El Paso-Juarez Sol 1975–1977
Los Angeles Stars 1975–1977
Orange County Stars

(Moved from Los Angeles)

San Diego Breakers 1975–1978
Southern California Bangers 1975
Tucson Turquoise

(Moved from Southern California)

Tucson Sky

(Changed name from Turquoise)

Phoenix Heat 1976–1977
Denver Comets 1976–1977
Seattle Smashers 1978–1979
Albuquerque Lazers 1979
Salt Lake City Stingers 1979
San Jose Diablos 1979

So, is there any chance for organizing professional volleyball league in USA in 21st century? There is, but many sponsors do not see volleyball as a commercially marketable sport. They have to find some solution, to make volleyball much more interesting for the sponsors...


Read previous WoV Blogs - Why Brazilians are good at volleyballTop 15 most attractive male and female volleyball jerseys in 2016/2017 and Pro Volleyball players' salaries


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1 Comments about "WoV BLOG: Professional volleyball league in USA (1975-1979) – Wilt Chamberlain and his role in it"

27.12.2016 | 22:26 |   Don [unregistered]

Actually, the IVA lasted halfway through the '80 season before ceasing operations and ending with a well-attended 'Farewell All-Star Match' in Denver with the Comets playing a group of players from other teams in the league (since they were hosting the all-star game that year and had already sold many tickets.

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