THE BIRTH AND ONE YEAR DEMISE OF THE SANTA BARBARA ISLANDERS
MINOR LEAGUE PROFESSIONAL BASKETBALL AT IT’S WORST AND BEST!
The Santa Barbara Islanders was a professional basketball team during the 1989-90 campaign and a franchise member of the continental basketball association (CBA). The CBA was the oldest professional basketball league globally. Originally named the Eastern Pennsylvania Basketball League in 1946, the league eventually ceased operations in 2009.
The CBA served as the developmental league for the NBA. Many players, referee’s, coach’s, general manager’s and trainers honed their skills, waiting for the opportunity to be called up to the NBA for employment.
The Islanders were very successful on the court with several records that still stand today:
*Best first year record for a franchise 37-19
*10 player call ups from their roster
*Derrick Gervin led the league in scoring
*Most team points scored in a season 7,000
*Highest team scoring average per game 123.4
*3 players named to the league’s first and second teams
However, the Islanders were success on the court didn’t translate to off the court (read more in this los angeles times article)
The Islanders roster for the 1989-1990 season and where are they now
Luther Burks: Was 6th man of the year; the most beloved player with the islander younger fans. Later played in the USBL, IBA and CBA. Retired and moved back to his hometown, Dallas, Texas and died in his sleep at the age of 47.
Kevin Francewar: Retired and moved back to Seattle, Washington.
Leon Wood: Played with several NBA teams but transformed his “game” and has been an NBA official for over 20 years. Lives in Los Angeles, California.
Jawaan Oldham: Had a few cups of coffee in the NBA and retired. Now living in Seattle, Washington.
Larry Spriggs: Returned to Europe to play professionally for several more years. Later became head coach of the Beijing Aoshen Olympians, a Chinese professional team. He lives in Los Angeles, California.
Rory White: returned to playing in Israel. Began coaching professionally in Venezuela and later with the Los Angeles Clippers. He is retired and living in Fargo, North Dakota.
Jim Les: After several years playing in the NBA, he became head coach at UC-Davis and has found much success running the sidelines.
Derrick Gervin: Played for the new jersey nets and Utah Jazz. Later returned to Europe to play. He’s living near his brother, George, in San Antonio, Texas.
Brian Christenson: He played one more season of minor league ball and now lives in Keller, Texas, just north of Fort Worth.
Michael Phelps: Retired and returned to his roots as a postal delivery man in Mississippi.
Mitch Mcmullen: Retired and living in Newhall, California.
Ron Cavenall: Had one final stint with the New York Knicks. Rumored to be living in Texas and New York.
Carlton Mckinney: He also got the call with the New York Knicks and is now retired; whereabouts unknown.
Steffond Johnson: After suffering a career ending knee injury, he is now living in Dallas, Texas as a sports agent, representing and training many athletes bidding for playing opportunities in the NBA and overseas.
Stan Easterling: He played a couple years overseas and is back home in North Carolina.
Cedric Hunter: played CBA ball, still holding many all-time records. Whereabouts is unknown but most likely on the plains of Kansas where life has always been good to him.
Antoine Ford: He retired and living back in New York City, where he was born and raised.
Mike Ratliff: He played in the CBA and global basketball league and these opportunities led to a 9-year career in France. He now lives in Pomona and coached his son against the Santa Barbara Breakers in the WCBL and was named WCBL Coach of the Year in 2012. He is now a high school teacher and basketball coach.
Craig Johnson: The brother of Pepperdine university and Seattle Supersonic/Boston Celtic great. He played one more year of CBA ball and now resides in his hometown of San Pedro, California.
Staff members of the islanders
Shirley Otto (Owner): Still going strong at age 90, living in Montecito with her dogs and cats.
Howard Schneider (2nd owner): Passed away at age 84.
Craig Case (President): Lives in Santa Barbara. Operates case security.
Curt Pickering (General Manager & Director of Player Personnel): Lives in Santa Barbara and is now the pro scout for the Indiana Pacers. Also trained basketball to over 9,000 youth in the SB community and owns the Santa Barbara breakers professional minor league team.
Sonny Allen (Head Coach): Scouted for the Charlotte Hornets, later retired and lives in Reno, Nevada.
Don Ford (Assistant Coach): Is a real estate agent in Santa Barbara, California.
Mark Harwell (Director of Marketing): Lives in Redondo Beach, California.
Marcie Mullen (Secretary/Receptionist): Rumored to be living in Colorado.
Kim Coleman (Director of Ticket Sales): Was hired by the Atlanta Hawks and later started his own player marketing agency with hall of fame great, Dominique Wilkins.
Larry Long (Director of Media): Retired and living in his Homestate, Oklahoma.
Sandy Livelsberger (Director of Human Relations): Retired from Cottage Hospital and lives in Santa Barbara.
Bob King (Director of Basketball Operations): Deceased.
Lara Price (Assistant to Bob King): Has worked for the NBA over 25 years.
Ken Doyle (Trainer): Is a trainer and lives in Santa Barbara.
Gary Phipps (Trainer): Is a trainer and lives in the Sacramento area.
Jim Rome (host with Curt Pickering of weekly show, “islander talk”): Is nationally renowned radio host and also hosted several TV sports shows.
Randy Rosenbloom (Play by play announcer): Continues to announce college basketball games in California and lives in Los Angeles, California.
Warren Williamson (Color Analyst): Retired and lives in Malibu, California.
Marnie Ellis (Cheerleading Director): Married and lives in Santa Barbara, California.