Continental Basketball Association (1988-1991)
Born: June 24, 1988 – The Savannah Spirits relocate to Tulsa.
Re-Branded: July 1991 (Tulsa Zone)
Arena: Expo Square Pavilion
Owner: Larry Stone
The Tulsa Fast Breakers were a minor league basketball outfit that played three seasons in the Continental Basketball Association. The team drew its name from owner Larry Stone’s chain of Fast Break convenient stores.
The CBA was the official developmental league at the time and many of Tulsa’s players were former NBA draft picks and training camp cuts. The Fast Breakers helped launch the career of future NBA All-Star Anthony Mason, who played for Tulsa during the 1990-91 season between brief stints with the New Jersey Nets and Denver Nuggets. Mason would later establish himself as an NBA stalwart with the New York Knicks and Charlotte Hornets, winning the league’s Sixth Man Award in 1995.
Headed the other direction was Chris Washburn. The 6′ 11″ center was the #3 overall pick in the 1986 NBA draft, but played poorly and was banned for life from the NBA in 1989 after failing three drug tests. Washburn signed with Tulsa for the 1990-91 CBA season. A few months after the CBA season ended, he was arrested in Houston on drug possession charges and sentenced to three years in prison. Washburn descended into homelessness later in the 1990’s, before reportedly cleaning up in the 2000’s. The former N.C. State star is considered one of the biggest NBA draft busts in history.
The Fast Breakers swept the Rockford Lightning to win the 1989 CBA Championship during their first season in Tulsa. Former UCLA star and NBA veteran Henry Bibby (pictured top right) coached the championship team.
Interest waned during the next two seasons and owner Larry Stone sold the club in June 1991. The new owners kept the franchise in Tulsa but changed its name to the Tulsa Zone in July 1991. The Zone left town in 1992 after playing other further season.
Center Ozell Jones (Fast Breakers ’89-’90) was found dead of a gunshot wound at his home on September 7, 2006. Jones was 45. The exact circumstances of his death remain unresolved.
Anthony Mason (Fast Breakers ’90-’91) died from complications of a massive heart attack on February 28, 2015 at the age of 48.