A brief history of the Amsterdam basketball Club
First Division Basketball was first organised in Holland in 1945. In those days all the participating teams were Amsterdam based clubs. It wasn´t until 1967 that a club from another city managed to win the championship. Since that time sponsoring started to influence the sport and the representation of Amsterdam declined to only one team in the first division. Strong clubs emerged in the cities of Haarlem, Delft, Leiden and finally Den Bosch and Den Helder. The last Amsterdam club to become champion, before the championships of the RICOH Astronauts in the nineties, was Fiat Stars in 1970. While the capital continued to produce the strongest players, its final First Division club fell apart in 1994.
1995 - 1996
After one season without a team from the capitol city, the remaining First Division clubs were eager for top basketball to return to Amsterdam. For the first time in history a team was allowed to participate in the First Division without ever having fielded a team before. The only restriction being that the team be formed after expiration of the transfer date for players. During the first season a total of 37 (!) players ended up trying out or playing for the club. Among those players was the 1.75 meter tall older brother of NBA Star Penny Hardaway who had brought his kid brother as his guide. The organisation of the club was further strengthened while the team settled for 9th place.
1996 - 1997
For many a player and fan, the home arena Apollohal and the playground on the Museumplein, are regarded basketball temples. Both are located in the city center within short distance from the masterpieces of Rembrandt and Van Gogh. But the club needed an even better foundation. Former Coach of the Year Jan Willem Jansen formed a team of top experienced players all with strong ties to the capitol. Mario Bennes, Milko Lieverst, Ed de Haas, Martin Esajas and Bud Greer brought the club to the next level of play. In that year the Dutch Cup was won and the Championship was lost in the last minute of the 7th game to the Dutch powerhouse Den Bosch. Basketball was back in Amsterdam with almost a thousand fans following the team to its away games during the final. After 12 championships in 23 years of competition Den Bosch was about to hand over its hegemony.
1997 - 1998
However, the ASTRONAUTS needed a full season to recover from the heartbreaking loss in the final game of the previous season. Still 1997 was a very important year. Not only was the Dutch Cup won by the Astronauts after a miraculous shot by Bud Greer in the final second of the game, the sponsorship changed from a local company Finish Profiles to the multi-national RICOH. Ironically, RICOH had just taken over the copier business of a company called Nashua which had helped Den Bosch to eight championships in nine years. The final game of the season was lost in the semifinal at home to Groningen. In the meantime the club had extended its reach with top youth teams and a basketball program for all basketball youth in Amsterdam. The return of an Amsterdam club to European basketball had taken almost 30 years.
1998 - 1999
The company RICOH had entered the basketball arena with a simple mission: becoming champion of the Netherlands. In order to achieve this one of the most famous basketball sons of Amsterdam had to be lured back to lead the way. Having spent his childhood shooting hoops on the Museumplein, Ton Boot went on to become one of the best Dutch players of all time. He took up coaching right after that and immediately asserted himself winning the Dutch championship and reaching the European semi-finals in his rookie year. Seven Dutch championships quickly followed. In his first actions for the RICOH ASTRONAUTS coach Boot immediately brought on change. He demanded his players to be available full time and kept only Mario Bennes and Milko Lieverst from the succesful team of 1996-1997. Americans Joe Spinks and Chris McGuthrie accompanied them along Dutch international Rolf Franke and 17-year old talent Raoul Heinen. The self-assured and controlled physical play became the trademark for the RICOH ASTRONAUTS. As a player, Ton Boot anchored the last Amsterdam club to become Dutch champion in 1970. He returned the trophy as a coach along with the 3rd consecutive Dutch Cup.
1999 - 2000
In a year of few changes coach Ton Boot strengthened his control of the teams play and subsequently the teams control of the Dutch championship. While the Dutch Cup was lost the RICOH ASTRONAUTS started to be succesful on the European stage. The Saporta Cup group was survived and Paris St-Germain (with young half-Dutchman Tony Parker) needed overtime and a controversial call from the referees to win. For the second year in a row the final game of the championship season was shown live on Dutch television. Americans Chris McGuthrie and Joe Spinks continued to lead the way with Joe taking in Dutch MVP honors with his superb all-round play and determination.
2000 - 2001
The nucleus of Joe Spinks, Chris McGuthrie, Mario Bennes and Milko Lieverst remained intact. Key additions Egi Mikalajunas and 18-year old Sydmill Harris complemented the most succesful Amsterdam team ever. The Dutch championship was won for a 3rd year in a row in a rather boring fashion compared to the Korac Cup play that was demonstrated throughout the season. The Korac Group was survived using three-point shooting extravaganzas and superior defense and rebounding. Led by Joe Spinks the RICOH ASTRONAUTS finished 1st in Europe in offensive rebounding. The same tactics worked against the strong Russian team Avtador Saratov and the individual class of Silas Mills of Fenerbahce in the quarterfinals. In perhaps the last top basketball game to be played in the Apollohal, Unicaja Malaga demonstrated its class outplaying the hosts and ending the dream of the RICOH ASTRONAUTS at the semifinals. This year Chris McGuthrie ended up Dutch MVP.
2001 - 2002
For the first time in his tenure with the RICOH ASTRONAUTS coach Ton Boot had to deal with several setbacks in personell. Sydmill Harris and Milko Lieverst had left and newcomers Roberto van de Broek and Terrance Herbert were plagued by injuries. On top of that Chris McGuthrie missed most of the Saporta Cup leading to a quick exit. The move from the old favorite Apollohal to the much larger Sporthallen Zuid next to the renovated Olympic Stadium of 1928, meant another adjustment for the club. On top of that coach Ton Boot had declared that he needed a sabbatical year after this season. The team was ousted from the Dutch Cup by Nijmegen and finished an uncharacteristic 3rd in the regular competition. However the players refused to let coach Ton Boot off the hook without his championship. In front of a capacity crowd of 4000 the team barely escaped in Game 6. Game 7 turned out to be even better. Led by the scoring of Chris McGuthrie, a 10-point deficit at halftime was changed into a 10-point victory - a Hollywood ending to an extremely succesful four years under the strict reign of coach Ton Boot.
2002 - 2003
The four consecutive Dutch championships are followed by a season of change. Chris McGuthrie, Mario Bennes and Joe Spinks are still at the heart of a team that is guided by Coach Rajko Toroman. Rajko has witnessed the success of the Yugoslavian National Teams in his role of assistant coach and in Amsterdam he sees a great number of players leave and arrive. Terrence Herbert, Tony Miller and Egi Mikalajaunas are gone before the start of the competition, Angelo Flanders, Joost Ooms and Sasa Ocokoljic leave during the season. They are replaced by Ivan Tomeljak, Mindaugas Burneika, Zvonimir Ridl & Latece Williams. Joe Spinks continues his stellar play and is awarded with his 2nd MVP Trophy. The season is further defined by the many injuries to point guard Chris McGuthrie. Chris shoots the Astronauts to small successes in the ULEB Cup by defeating Cholet and Charleroi on their home territory but he is not able to get the team rolling in the Dutch competitions. The Haarlem Basketball Week is won for the first time in December, the Dutch Cup is lost in the finals at home to EiffelTowers while Omniworld Almere is responsible for the elimination in the semi finals of the play-offs.
2003 - 2004
A new sponsor, a new name, a new coach and a new team were set up to go for the Championship again. The well known Israelian coach Arik Shivek came to Amsterdam. Demon Astronauts was the new name. Joe Spinks, Mario Bennes, Chris McGuthrie and Koen Rouwhorst are still there. New faces from players who played before in the Netherlands, Tony Miller, Nii Nelson Richards and Harm van Woerkom and Teddy Gipson from Arakans plus youngsters of our own youth completed the team. Chris McGuthrie moved to Spain. Victories on a.o. EiffelTowers and Den Bosch brought the national cup to Amsterdam. Teams like Real Madrid and Breil Milano visited us for the ULEB cup. In the league Astronauts ended second after Den Bosch but lost in the semi final from Groningen.
2004 - 2005
This was the season of the revenge. Most players and coach Shivek are still there but two Americans of last year were replaced by European players Vileita and Obersats.
Niels Meijer confirmed the expectations and later in the season Shake Simpson was added to the team. We did well in the Europe cup beating Bnei Hasharon, Dexia Mons and BC Khimki in the away games and losing from Nahariya in the third game of the quarter finals. Zwolle did beat the Astronauts in the semi finals of the Dutch Cup. In the Dutch League though Astronauts first did beat EiffelTowers in the semi finals and than had a sweep (4 -0) against Zwolle. Champions of the Netherlands again.
2005 - 2006
Toon van Helfteren replaced Shivek who moved to Antwerp. The team looked like the year before with the great Dutch player Marcel Huijbens added to the team.. This year we did win the Dutch cup again thru beating Rotterdam in the final game. In the league we lost in the semi finals from Groningen. In the Europe cup we did beat teams like Hemofarm, Anwill and Asvel and it was mainly the injury of Joe Spinks that kept us out of the next round. This was the last year for Demon Internet as the main sponsor. Mario Bennes, Marcel Huijbens and Joe Spinks ended their careers, Teddy Gipson, James Miller and Dennis Latimore leave the club. Both youth teams, under 23 and the juniors became the champion of the Netherlands.
2006 - 2007
Joe Spinks became the new head coach of Amsterdam. It was a difficult season, without a main sponsor. In spite of the lack of means coach Spinks was still trying to do well with the team. We started with only two Americans and did not do well in the Europe cup. Nevertheless the team improved during the season. We ended 6th in the regular season, but after beating the dream team of Groningen in the quarter finales Amsterdam Astronauts as it was called this year lost narrowly from Nijmegen in the semi’s. In the cup Amsterdam lost in the quarter finals and so was this season the first one without any price but taking in account the circumstances we did rather well.. The under 22 team became Champions of the Netherlands
2007 - 2008
This season brings great changes. A new partner MYGUIDE gives high hopes for the future. Roel Pieper will be the new president and Ruud Frese moves to the vice president position. Coach Arik Shivek is back and is expected to stay a long time. Joe Spinks will be his assitent. A new basketbal partnership with BV Lely and BV Mosquito’s will further improve the youth programs. A partnership with Scholengemeenschap Amarantis, a conglomerate of schools in Amsterdam, will increase our involvement in the community. All Dutch players, headed by National Team players Peter van Paassen en Stefan Wessels stay with the team, Robert Krabbendam returns from the U.S. and Teddy Gipson signs a two year contract. Almost NBA player Avis Wyatt and Israeli National Team starter Jeron Roberts are added to the roster and from the Americans of last season Tamien Trent is coming back. Details were presented to the public on August 28, 2007.
The new name of the club will be Amsterdamse Basketball Club MYGUIDE AMSTERDAM