The National Fantasy Basketball Championship (NFBKC) was started in the fall of 2006 after three successful seasons of baseball and football. It was a natural progression for our contests as fantasy basketball has always been considered the “third major sport.”
The NFBKC started in 2006-07 with just three Main Event Leagues and an overall grand prize based on those three leagues. Chris Fargis of New York City won the first NFBKC Overall Championship and the $3,000 grand prize, while Fargis, George Kleemann of Palatine, Illinois and Sammy Zahler of Thornhill, Ontario were our initial Main Event league champions. Each won $3,500 for their league titles.
The NFBKC returned in 2007-08 with five Main Event Leagues and the same $3,000 grand prize. Jeff Dobies of Farmingville, New York became our second overall champion that year and earned the $3,000 grand prize. Jeff also won a $3,500 league prize, joining other Main Event league champions that included Glenn Schroter of Whitestone, New York, Roland Beech of Aptos, California, Sammy Zahler of Thornhill, Ontario and Dylan Kolatzki of Saukville, Wisconsin.
The NFBKC again hosted five Main Event Leagues in 2008-09 and added a $125 Satellite League that year. Sammy Zahler of Thornhill, Ontario won his third straight league title that year and became our third overall champion, winning the $3,000 grand prize. Other league champions in 2008-09 included: Josh Blumenreich of Phoenix, Arizona, Roland Beech of Los Angeles, California and Eric Wong of Santa Cruz, California. Rick Thomas of Lewes, Delaware and Michael Catalano of New York City also shared a league title. Jeff Jamieson of Dallas, Texas won the debut $125 NFBKC Satellite League title.
Krause Publications owned the NFBKC through the first three seasons, but in August of 2009 Fanball.com acquired all of the high-stakes fantasy games and magazines from KP, including the NFBKC. That season got off to a rough start with a new hoops web site and the NFBKC was limited to four Main Event leagues. Jeff Meyer of Midlothian, Virginia won the overall title and the $2,500 grand prize in 2009-10. Also winning league titles were: Lou Nemphos of Browns Mills, New Jersey, Craig Kielinski of Exton, Pennsylvania and John Paolucci of White Plains, New York.
In 2010-11, the NFBKC offered a Main Event, Online Championship, Super League and $125 Satellite League. It was the most aggressive lineup to date and it resulted in a record 13 NFBKC leagues. Lou Nemphos became our fifth overall champion as he also won the $3,000 grand prize. Winning NFBKC Main Event league titles were: Ross Kandel and Eric Jenike. Eric Wong won the lone Super League, earning $16,000 for that league title and he also won the overall title in the debut NFBKC Online Championship. Winning Online League titles were Wong (he won two of them and finished first and second overall), Lou Nemphos, Damian George and Brian Hacker. Winning $125 Satellite League titles were: Murray Jackson, Jeff Butler, John Lemon and Scott Newman.
The NFBKC became part of STATS LLC in 2011 after Fanball.com dissolved, joining the NFBC and NFFC at STATS. But due to the NBA lockout in 2011, the NFBKC didn’t return in 2011-12.
After a one year layoff, the NFBKC returned bigger and better than ever, finishing with a total of 28 leagues. The NFBKC Main Event returned with its biggest grand prize ever -- $10,000 – which was won by Lucio Procopio of Liverpool, New York in dramatic fashion. Lucio edged Roger Gonzalez for that title on the final day of the season. Lucio won his Main Event League title, which was worth $4,500 that year, as did Abdulaziz Madani, Will Tyrer, Stephen Kim and Roger Gonzalez. The NFBKC Online Championship grew to 12 leagues and 144 teams that year – the most teams ever for this format – and Eric Wong won the $8,000 grand prize, edging Lou Nemphos for the title. Eric Wong also won the Super League title, which had a $16,000 league prize. The NFBKC also finished with 10 $125 Satellite Leagues, the most in our history.
In 2013-14, the NFBKC Main Event grew to 84 teams and six full leagues. Luke Pascale took home the Main Event title and its $15,000 grand prize, the highest ever awarded to a Main Event champion in the NFBKC's history. Also winning league titles and $5,000 each that year were: David Deterra, Curtis Gazdewich, Luke Pascale, Andrew Nichols and Roger Gonzalez, who won two Main Event league titles that year. Joseph Ivy won $10,000 by claiming the title in the Online Championship, which had a record 144 teams, while Roger Gonzalez became the first NFBKC Draft Champions winner, topping 144 teams to win the $2,500 grand prize. Aaron Smith won the $2,500 Super League and its $17,000 first-place prize.
The NFBKC grew to 40 leagues and 480 teams in 2014-15. Eric Wong of Santa Cruz, California won the NFBKC Main Event grand prize of $15,000 as he edged 47 other teams for the title. Roger Gonzalez finished second overall in the Main Event for the third straight year and won two Main Event League titles for the second straight year, while Wong and Lou Procopio won the other league titles. Curtis Gazdewich of Toronto, Ontario won the $10,000 grand prize in the Rotowire Fantasy Basketball Championship as this contest grew to our largest field of 156 teams. Lou Procopio of LIverpool, New York won the second annual $2,500 grand prize in the NFBKC Draft Champions National Championship as he topped 144 teams for that title. Sammy Zahler of Thornhill, Ontario won the NFBKC Super League and its $17,000 first-place prize. The NFBKC also had 10 $150 Satellite Leagues in 2014-15 to finish with 40 total leagues.
Eric Wong further established his dominance in the NFBKC in 2015-16 by winning the Main Event overall title for the second consecutive season. Wong bested 47 other teams for the $15,000 grand prize and he also finished second overall as he won two of the four Main Event league titles. Also winning Main Event league titles were Roger Gonzalez and Kenneth Strauss of Deerfield, Illinois. Curtis Gazdewich also claimed his second straight title in the Rotowire Online Championship as he claimed the $10,000 overall prize by topping a record 192 teams in this contest. Giuseppe Racco from Maple, Ontario won the Draft Champions title and its $2,500 first-place grand prize as we again had 144 teams in that contest, while Will Tyrer of Beverly Hills, California finished first in the Super League, taking home the $17,000 first-place league prize. The NFBKC also had 11 $150 Satellite Leagues in 2015-16 to finish with a record total of 44 leagues and 528 teams.
History was made in 2016-17 when Eric Wong won his third straight Main Event overall title and $10,000. Eric won two Main Event league titles as we finished with four leagues and 48 teams. Also winning Main Event league titles were Scott Vetter of Washington, Illinois and Mark Whittenberger of Cambridge, Massachusetts. Wong also became the first person inducted into the NFBKC Hall of Fame as he has now won 3 Main Event overall titles, 9 Main Event league titles, an Online Championship overall title and 2 Super League titles. He’s easily the NFBKC’s leading money winner with over $170,000 in winnings. Congrats to Eric, our most honored player in the NFBKC. The tag team of Kevin Bass and Marc Fleisher of Bethesda, Maryland won the Super League title and $18,000, after also winning that year’s NFBC Super League title. John Bugbee of Indianapolis, Indiana won the $10,000 grand prize in the Rotowire Online Championship as we finished with a record 204 teams and 17 leagues. It was a great year for that format. And David Dorman of Deerfield, Illinois bested 144 teams to win the NFBKC Draft Champions National Championship and the $2,500 grand prize. We also finished with a record 15 Satellite Leagues as the NFBKC had a record year with 49 leagues and 588 teams.
Now with basketball fully established as the “third major fantasy sport”, the NFBKC promises to be bigger and better than ever this season. With three national contests, the Super League and strong satellite leagues, this is a great contest for everyone who loves fantasy basketball. It’s obvious that we are bullish on basketball and the growth potential is definitely there for the NFBKC in 2017-18.