February 14,1989 – The Kemper Lesnik Organization announced its intention to place a Continental Basketball Association (CBA) expansion team in Sioux Falls, S.D. Based in Chicago, the company provided the city of Sioux Falls with its first professional sports team. The team’s nickname, Skyforce, was selected from 1,045 entries submitted in a “Name the Team” contest.
November 16, 1989 – The Skyforce played its inaugural game against the Rapid City Thrillers at the Sioux Falls Arena. Sioux Falls fell 85-79 in front of a crowd of 5,125. The first-ever starting lineup included guard Terry Gould, guard Eric Brown, forward Steve Grayer, forward Leo Parent and center Jim Lampley.
December 7, 1989 – The Skyforce defeated the Omaha Racers 127-120 at home to pick up its first ever-win. Ralph Lewis scored 46 points which is still tied for the most points scored by a Skyforce player in a single game heading into the 2013-14 season.
May 13, 1993 – Local ownership took hold when Sioux Falls businessmen Bob Correa, Greg Heineman, Roger Larsen and Tom Walsh purchased the Skyforce from the Kemper Lesnik Organization. The four community business leaders quickly established three goals:
- Provide Sioux Falls, fans and corporate partners with the best family entertainment value in the area.
- Provide Sioux Falls with the best minor league basketball franchise in America both on-and-off the basketball court.
- Enhance the image of Sioux Falls as the best place to live in America.
Those goals remain the focus of the organization to this day. Greg Heineman continues to build upon the foundation set up by him and his partners in 1993. With his leadership, the organization is stronger than ever.
April 24, 1996 – The Skyforce defeated the Fort Wayne Fury 118-117 in Game 5 to capture its first CBA Championship. With the Skyforce trailing 117-116 in the final seconds, rookie forward Devin Gray drove past his defender and swished a leaning 10-footer at the buzzer to stun the 4,377 fans at the Allen County War Memorial Coliseum. Henry James was named the 1996 CBA Playoff MVP after averaging 23.2 points and 5.6 rebounds per game during the 1996 CBA Finals. Head coach Mo McHone led Sioux Falls to a regular season record of 32-24.
April 2, 2005 – The Skyforce defeated the Rockford Lightning 135-126 in Game 4 to capture its second CBA Championship. Corsley Edwards was named the 2005 CBA Playoff MVP after averaging 21.1 points and 12.4 rebounds in nine postseason contests. Head coach Dave Joerger, who is currently the head coach of the Memphis Grizzlies, led Sioux Falls to a regular season record of 31-17.
April 6, 2006 – The Skyforce joined the NBA Development League (NBADL) following 17 seasons in the Continental Basketball Association.
January 8, 2007 – Detroit Pistons forward Amir Johnson became the first-ever NBA player assigned to the Skyforce. The 6-9, 210-pound forward went on to average 18.9 points, 9.6 rebounds and 3.1 blocks in 22 games (all starts). Johnson, who currently plays for the Toronto Raptors, is known as one of the most electric players in franchise history.
August 7, 2007 – The Skyforce named former Sioux Falls Roosevelt and University of South Dakota standout Nate Tibbetts head coach. In two seasons as head coach he guided Sioux Falls to a 53-47 mark including a playoff berth in 2008. Tibbetts currently serves as an assistant coach for the Portland Trail Blazers.
April 6, 2008 – Kasib Powell was named NBA D-League MVP for the 2007-08 season. The 6-7, 218-pound forward averaged 22.2 points, 6.0 rebounds and 3.0 assists in 40 games (39 starts). Powell, who earned two call-ups to the Miami HEAT that season, remains the only player in franchise history to be named league MVP.
June 10, 2013 – The Skyforce and Miami HEAT entered into a single affiliation partnership beginning with the 2013-14 season. This partnership, also referred to as a hybrid affiliation, allows an NBA team to control the basketball operations, while existing local ownership maintains primary responsibility for the team’s off-the-court business operations and community initiatives.