Lively Tales About Dead Teams

Archive for the ‘Basketball’ Category

1961-1962 San Francisco Saints

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Gene Brown San Francisco SaintsAmerican Basketball League (1961-1962)

Born: 1961 – ABL founding franchise.
Died: 1962 – The Saints relocate to Oakland, CA.

Arenas:

Team Colors:

Owner: George McKeon

 

The San Francisco Saints were a One-Year Wonder in Abe Saperstein’s upstart American Basketball League that briefly attempted to challenge the NBA in the early 1960’s.

The Saints finished 38-38 in their only season of play and lost to the eventual champion Cleveland Pipers (owned by George Steinbrenner!) in the playoff quarterfinal.  6′ 8″ center Jim Francis out of Dartmouth was the team’s leading scorer, averaging 19.1 PPG.

In July 1962, owner George McKeon announced that the Saints would not return to the league.  The franchise was relocated across the Bay to Oakland as the Oakland Oaks for the 1962-63 season.  The ABL’s sophomore campaign was cut short due to financial difficulties and the league folded on December 31, 1962.

 

==1961-62 San Francisco Saints Results==

Date Opponent Score Program Other
11/1/1961 vs. Kansas City Steers W 100-88 Program
11/3/1961 vs. Kansas City Steers L 83-77 Program
11/9/1961 vs. Cleveland Pipers L 103-100 Program
11/10/1961 vs. Cleveland Pipers L 97-88 Program
11/17/1961 @ Chicago Majors L 94-91 (OT) Program
2/20/1962 vs. Chicago Majors W 119-116 Program
2/22/1962 vs. Chicago Majors L 118-102 Program

 

==Links==

American Basketball League Media Guides

American Basketball League Programs

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Written by andycrossley

October 20th, 2014 at 2:05 pm

1968-1970 Los Angeles Stars

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Los Angeles Stars vs. Dallas Chaparalls. January 7, 1970American Basketball Association (1968-1970)

Born: 1968 – The Anaheim Amigos relocate to Los Angeles, CA.
Died: June 11, 1970 – The Stars relocate to Salt Lake City, UT.

Arena: Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena

Team Colors:

Owner: Jim Kirst

 

The Los Angeles Stars basketball team was a short-lived effort by the American Basketball Association to plant its flag in L.A. during the early years of its rivalry with the National Basketball Association.  The Stars labored in the shadows of the NBA’s Lakers and never established a substantial following.

1968-69 Los Angeles Stars Media GuideThe Stars, coached by Hall-of-Famer (and future Lakers coach) Bill Sharman, did enjoy a thrilling Cinderella playoff run at the end of its second and final season in L.A.  As late as March 1970, the Stars sat in last place in the ABA’s Western Division.  But Sharman’s club had talent, sparked by guard Mack Calvin and fellow rookie Willie Wise at small forward.  A late season surge saw the Stars grab the final Western Division playoff spot with a 43-31 fourth place finish.  The Stars then upended the Dallas Chaparrals and the  top-seeded Denver Rockets to earn a trip to the ABA Championship Series against the Indiana Pacers.  The Pacers, a league-best 59-25 in the  regular season, ended the Stars’ unlikely run with a 4-2 series victory.

The 6th and deciding game of the 1970 ABA Championship Series was held at the Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena on May 25, 1970.  The Pacers won 111-107 before 8,233 fans – the largest crowd in Stars franchise history.  It was also the last crowd in the team’s brief existence in Southern California.  By this time, the Stars departure was already in the works.  Owner Jim Kirst sold the troubled club to Denver-based cable television entrepreneur Bill Daniels in March of 1970.  Two weeks following the Game 6 loss in the finals, Daniels announced the club would move to Salt Lake City for the 1970-71 ABA season.

Daniels’ Utah Stars became a league powerhouse during the early 1970’s, appearing in three more ABA finals series, and winning the championship in 1971.  The franchise folded in December 1975 and the ABA closed down the following spring.

 

==Los Angeles Stars Games on Fun While It Lasted==

Date Opponent Score Program Other
1969-70 1/7/1970 vs. Dallas Chaparrals L 114-112 Program
1969-70 3/4/1970 vs. Denver Rockets W 135-122 Program
1969-70 4/14/1970 @ Dallas Chaparrals  L 129-113 Program

 

==In Memoriam==

Forward Wayne Hightower (Stars ’69-’70) died of a heart attack on April 18, 2002. He was 62.  New York Times obituary.

Former Stars Head Coach Bill Sharman passed away at age 87 on October 25, 2013.

 

==Links==

Los Angeles Stars on RememberTheABA.com

American Basketball Association Media Guides

American Basketball Association Programs

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Written by andycrossley

October 20th, 2014 at 2:42 am

2002-2005 Great Lakes Storm

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2002-03 Great Lakes StormContinental Basketball Association (2002-2005)

Born: September 4, 2002 – CBA expansion franchise.
Died: 2005 – The Storm cease operations.

Arena: Birch Run Expo Center

Team Colors:

Owners: Greg Van Boxel, Joe Oesterling & Chris Webber

 

The Great Lakes Storm basketball team was a minor league outfit that played three seasons in the Continental Basketball Association from 2002 through 2005.  The Storm were based in the tiny village of Birch Run (pop. 1,555) in Saginaw County, Michigan.

Midway through the Storm’s second season in the 2003-04, former University of Michigan star and NBA All-Star Chris Webber became a part-owner of the team.  Webber’s former “Fab Five” teammate at Michigan, Jimmy King, played for the Storm that season too.

The Storm folded in 2005 after three seasons of play.

 

==Links==

Continental Basketball Association Media Guides

Continental Basketball Association Programs

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Written by andycrossley

September 1st, 2014 at 5:29 pm

1970-1972 Pittsburgh Condors

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John Brisker Pittsburgh CondorsAmerican Basketball Association (1970-1972)

Born: Summer 1970 – The Pittsburgh Pipers/Pioneers are re-branded as the Pittsburgh Condors.
Died: June 13, 1972 – The ABA disbands the Condors franchise.

Arena: Pittsburgh Civic Arena

Team Colors:

Owners: Haven Industries (represented by Don Bezahler)

 

Western Pennsylvania sports fans didn’t care much for the Pittsburgh Condors of the American Basketball Association.  But this odd little team has become a cult favorite of ABA collectors and nostalgists thanks to its short life span, deeply weird storylines and some great-looking-but-very-rare memorabilia.

Case in point: a very scarce 1970-71 Condors media guide (like the one above right) is currently selling for $500.00 on e-Bay.  That’s John Brisker on the cover pictured in sombrero and six shooters.  Brisker was a sensational scorer and also a volatile, heat-packing brawler who terrified opponents and teammates alike.  No one has seen Brisker since 1978.  The most popular theory is that he died in Uganda fighting as a mercenary for Idi Amin.

1971-72 Pittsburgh CondorsThe Condors were a continuation of the ABA’s Pittsburgh Pipers franchise, which was an equally strange operation.  The Condors were one of the ABA’s original eleven franchises in 1967.  They were the best team in the league that first season (54-24) and won the inaugural championship, thanks in large part to future Hall-of-Famer Connie Hawkins.  But after that first ABA season, Condors owner Gabe Rubin moved the franchise to Minneapolis, where another ABA club had just failed.  When the Pipers failed to generate any interest in the Twin Cities, Rubin dragged the club back to Pittsburgh, of all places, for the ABA’s third season in 1969-70. Pittsburgh fans were not in a forgiving mood.  The 1969-70 Pipers played to a near-empty Civic Arena on most nights.  Compounding matters, Hawkins had left for the NBA and the team was a terrible (29-55), a shell of its championship form two winters earlier.

In April 1970 Gabe Rubin unloaded the Pipers on a New York conglomerate named Haven Industries that ran businesses ranging from sugar refining to livery services.  Remarkably, the new owners decided to keep the team in Pittsburgh, despite the monolithic apathy of the locals.  They decided the problem was the Pipers identity and set about holding a Name The Team contest to re-brand the team.  The prize for the winning entry was $500.00 cash.

Law student Don Seymour proposed the name “Pittsburgh Pioneers”, taking 57 words to explain why.  Club officials dug Seymour’s concept and named him the winner.  Trouble was, a woman named Angela Weaver also submitted the name “Pioneers” and, unlike Seymour, she kept her submission within the 25-word limit stated in the contest rules.  And Angela Weaver’s husband was an attorney.  And besides that a small downtown Pittsburgh college already used the name Pioneers and threatened to litigate.  And so the Pipers abandoned their bungled Name The Team contest and became the “Pittsburgh Condors” for no special reason.

On the court, the new management hired former Cincinnati Royals and San Diego Rockets (NBA) head man Jack McMahon to turn around the Condors’ fortunes.  Although Brisker and Mike Lewis were named to the 1971 ABA All-Star Game, the Condors struggled to a 36-48 finish and missed the playoffs.  Attendance was terrible a 2,806 per game, a figure inflated by massive ticket giveaways, if not outright deception, according to the ABA’s premier historian Arthur Hundhausen of RememberTheABA.com.

The Condors’ second and final campaign in the winter of 1971-72 was worst still.  GM Mark Binstein canned Jack McMahon after a 4-6 start and named himself Head Coach, despite no previous experience.  Attendance plummeted further, fueling rumors that the Condors would disband or relocate while the season was still in progress.  After the New Year, the Condors started moving games all over the country rather than play to empty seats in Pittsburgh.  There were rumors the Condors could end up in Cincinnati, El Paso, New Haven or San Diego for the 1972-73 season.  Pittsburgh’s final “home” game of the 1971-72 season was played in Tucson, Arizona, of all places, on March 28, 1972.  In typical fashion, the Condors lost to the Kentucky Colonels in a high scoring shootout 134-132.  The club would never play in Pittsburgh again.

The Condors had the worst record in the ABA in 1971-72 at 25-59.  The various rumored relocations fell through and the ABA terminated the Condors franchise on June 13, 1972.

 

==Pittsburgh Condors Games on Fun While It Lasted==

Date Opponent Score Program Other

 

==In Memoriam==

Forward John Brisker disappeared in Uganda in April 1978 and was never heard from again.  Brisker was declared legally dead in 1985.

Condors Head Coach Jack McMahon passed away at age 60 on June 11, 1989.

 

==Links==

Pittsburgh Condors on RememberTheABA.com

American Basketball Association Media Guides

American Basketball Association Programs

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Written by andycrossley

August 3rd, 2014 at 2:13 pm

1978-1979 Baltimore Metros

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Baltimore MetrosContinental Basketball Association (1978-1979)

Born: 1978 – The Washington Metros relocate to Baltimore, MD.
Died: January 1979 – The Metros relocate to Utica, NY in midseason.

Arena: UMBC Fieldhouse (4,000)

Team Colors:

Owner: Fred Keller

 

Doomed, totally forgotten minor league basketball effort that flamed out in Baltimore after a couple of months in early 1979.   The Baltimore Metros formed a year earlier in Washington, D.C. in the Eastern Basketball Association.  The Metros were terrible in the EBA (5 wins against 26 losses) and team owner Fred Keller moved the club to the University of Maryland Baltimore County Fieldhouse for the 1978-79 season.   The EBA also re-branded itself as the Continental Basketball Association that year.

Keller hired ABA and NBA veteran Larry Cannon to coach the team.  Cannon, the #5 overall pick in the 1969 NBA draft, got the team off to a 9-5 start.  But that wasn’t good enough for Keller, who fired him in December and took the coaching reigns himself.  By January, the club was out of money and Keller was looking to unload it.  The CBA threatened to revoke the franchise for unpaid bills.  In late January, the Metros abruptly left town and set up shop in Utica, New York, changing their name to the “Mohawk Valley Thunderbirds” in midseason.  That didn’t work out either and the Metros/Thunderbirds eventually went out of business without finishing the 1978-79 regular season.

 

==Baltimore Metros Games on Fun While It Lasted==

Date Opponent Score Program Other
10/27/1978 vs. Rochester Zeniths ?? Program Roster

 

==Links==

Continental Basketball Association Media Guides

Continental Basketball Association Programs

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Written by andycrossley

July 4th, 2014 at 1:48 am