World Basketball League (1988-1992)
Born: 1987 – WBL founding franchise.
Died: August 1, 1992 – The WBL folds in midseason.
Arena: Beeghly Center
Team Colors: Royal Blue & Orange
Owner: Michael Monus
The Youngstown (OH) Pride were two-time champions of the World Basketball League, a summer time circuit for players 6′ 5″ tall or shorter. The Pride won back-to-back titles in 1989 and 1990, defeating the Calgary 88′s in the championship series in both seasons.
Future NBA regulars Mario Elie (1990) and Tim Legler (1989) both spent summers in Youngstown playing for the Pride on their way to the NBA.
The Pride were the model franchise of the league thanks to the patronage of Michael “Mickey” Monus, President of the Youngstown-based Phar-Mor discount pharmacy chain. Monus poured money into the Pride and also backstopped the precarious finances of some of the league’s shakier franchises. At his high-flying peak in 1991, Monus was even part of the ownership group working to bring a Major League Baseball expansion franchise to Denver, Colorado (the team that would ultimately become the Colorado Rockies). But in 1992, investigators discovered that Monus was funding the Pride and the WBL an elaborate embezzlement scheme , siphoning an estimated $10 million into his pet basketball league. Fallout from the scandal caused Phar-Mor to declare bankruptcy in 1992 and lay off 5,000 workers. It also destroyed the World Basketball League, whose investors (other than Monus himself) were unwittingly reliant on the proceeds of Monus’ criminal enterprise to stay afloat. The league abruptly folded on August 1, 1992 without completing its fifth season of play.
==Pride Games on Fun While It Lasted==
|1988||6/13/1988||@ Calgary 88's||??||Program|
|1989||5/10/1989||@ Worcester Counts||??||Program|
|1989||6/7/1989||@ Worcester Counts||??||Program|
|1989||7/9/1989||vs. Illinois Express||??||Program||Game Notes|
Youngstown Pride at Vancouver Nighthawks television broadcast. 1988 season.