Lively Tales About Dead Teams

1987-1989 Mississippi Jets

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1987-88 CBA Media GuideContinental Basketball Association (1987-1989)

Born: January 1987 – The Jacksonville Jets relocate to Biloxi, MS
Moved: 1989 (Wichita Falls Texans)

Arena: Mississippi Coast Coliseum (11,500)

Team Colors: Blue, White & Gold

Dance Team: The Jetsetters

Owner: Ted Stepien

CBA Championships: None

 

The Mississippi Jets were a particularly screwy, dysfunctional entry in the Continental Basketball Association, the NBA’s de facto minor league during the late 1980’s.  The Jets were owned by Ted Stepien, the reviled former Cleveland Cavaliers owner notorious for both dunderheaded racial pronouncements and world-beating managerial ineptitude. By 1983, NBA owners were so desperate to rid themselves of Stepien that Commissioner David Stern bribed Richfield Coliseum owner George Gund with four bonus draft picks (to replace the ones Stepien had frittered away) to buy the team.

After being drummed out of the NBA in 1983, Stepien invested in the CBA, starting an expansion franchise known as the Toronto Tornados. Two years later, Stepien uprooted the Tornados in the middle of the 1985-86 season and moved the team 1,200 miles to Pensacola, Florida. A few months later he moved across Florida to the Jacksonville Coliseum. For the 1986-87 season, the team would be known as the Jacksonville Jets. Or not. After less than a month in Jacksonville, Stepien pulled up stakes again and moved the Jets to the Mississippi Coast Coliseum in Biloxi during the first week of January 1987.

What Biloxi got was a pretty good team full of drug casualties. Two days after Christmas 1986, the then-Jacksonville Jets traveled to Pensacola, Florida for a road series.  Jets’ leading scorers Billy Goodwin and Bobby Parks were busted for cocaine and marijuana possession by Pensacola police. Goodwin and Parks arrived with the rest of the team in Biloxi on January 5th, 1987 with felony drug charges hanging over their heads back in Florida. That night, an announced crowd of 7,427 turned out at the Mississipi Coast Coliseum for the team’s first game in Biloxi. A week later, the Jets cut their top two scorers after Goodwin and Parks refused to submit to follow-up drug testing.

The Jets replaced the lost scoring punch by signing former Houston Rockets shooting guard Mitchell Wiggins. The same week that the Jets parted ways with Goodwin and Parks, the NBA had slapped Wiggins with a two-year ban for cocaine abuse.

In October 1987 the CBA accused Stepien of pressuring former Jets head coach Keith Fowler to throw the final three games of the 1986-87 season in order to manipulate playoff seedings. Stepien allegedly wanted to finish in third place rather than second place to avoid scheduling conflicts at the Mississippi Coast Coliseum.  The Jets finished third and lost in the first round of the playoffs to the Albany Patroons. The CBA later fined Stepien $50,000.

At the box office, the Jets were a complete flop, like all of Stepien’s prior sports promotions.  After that big opening night crowd back in January 1987, Jets attendance flatlined. For the team’s first full season in Biloxi in the winter of 1987-88, the Jets sold a league worst 183 season tickets.

At the end of the 1988-89 season, Stepien finally sold the team and it was relocate to Wichita Falls, Texas.

We are looking for any memorabilia or documents from the Mississippi Jets (photos, programs, etc.). Contact us if you can help.

 

==In Memoriam==

Forward Anthony Frederick (Jets ’87-’88) died of a heart attack at age 38 on May 29, 2003.

Guard Quintin Dailey (Jets ’87) died of hypertensive cardiovascular disease on November 8, 2010 at age 49. New York Times obit.

Former head coach Don Delaney (Jets ’87-’88) passed away on February 16, 2011 at the age of 75.

Guard Bobby Parks (Jets ’87) died of lung cancer on March 13, 2013. Parks was 51.

 

==Links==

Continental Basketball Association Media Guides

Continental Basketball Association Programs

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Written by andycrossley

January 17th, 2016 at 9:52 pm

1972-1997 New England Whalers / Hartford Whalers

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1976-77 New England Whalers Media GuideWorld Hockey Association (1972-1979)
National Hockey League (1979-1997)

Born: November 1971 – WHA founding franchise
Moved: May 6, 1997 (Carolina Hurricanes)

Arenas:

Team Colors:

Owners:

  • 1972-: Howard Baldwin, John Colburn, Godfrey Wood & William Barnes’
  • 1988-1989: Donald Conrad, Richard Gordon, et al.
  • 1994-1997: Peter Karmanos, Thomas Thewes & Jim Rutherford

WHA Champions: 1973
Stanley Cup Championships: None

 

Text Coming Soon…

 

==Slideshow==

 

==New England Whalers & Hartford Whalers Programs on Fun While It Lasted==

Season Date Opponent Score Program Other

1972-73

1972-73 10/28/1972 vs. Alberta Oilers L 4-1 Program
1972-73 12/4/1972 vs. Ottawa Nationals W 7-2 Program
1972-73 3/7/1973 vs. Cleveland Crusaders W 1-0 (OT) Program
1972-73 3/29/1973 @ Ottawa Nationals L 5-2 Program

1973-74

1973-74 10/21/1973 @ Toronto Toros W 4-3 Program
1973-74 4/1/1974 vs. Houston Aeros L 4-1 Program

1974-75

1974-75 12/17/1974 @ Michigan Stags T 2-2 Program
1974-75 12/28/1974 @ Houston Aeros L 6-1 Program
1974-75 1/3/1975 @ Toronto Toros W 5-3 Program
1974-75 1/27/1975 vs. Cleveland Crusaders W 2-0 Program

1975-76

1975-76 11/23/1975 vs. Winnipeg Jets L 3-2 Program
1975-76 11/25/1975 @ Minnesota Fighting Saints L 3-2 (OT) Program
1975-76 11/29/1975 vs. Indianapolis Racers L 3-2 Program
1975-76 3/12/1976 vs. Cleveland Crusaders W 8-2 Program
1975-76 3/26/1976 vs. Calgary Cowboys W 4-1 Program

1976-77

1976-77 12/28/1976 @ Minnesota Fighting Saints L 5-4 Program
1976-77 1/13/1977 @ Indianapolis Racers L 4-1 Program

1977-78

1977-78 11/15/1977 @ Indianapolis Racers W 6-4 Program

1978-79

1978-79 10/29/1978 vs. Cincinnati Stingers W 7-4 Program
1978-79 1/20/1979 vs. Cincinnati Stingers W 3-1 Program
1978-79 2/11/1979 @ Cincinnati Stingers L 5-2 Program
1978-79 4/6/1979 @ Edmonton Oilers L 7-2 Program

1979-80

1979-80 11/9/1979 vs. Chicago Blackhawks L 4-2 Program
1979-80 12/11/1979 @ Vancouver Canucks L 5-3 Program

1980-81

1980-81 2/7/1981 vs. Chicago Blackhawks L 6-2 Program

1981-82

1981-82 1/31/1982 vs. Quebec Nordiques T 4-4 Program

1982-83

1982-83 10/30/1982 vs. Detroit Red Wings L 4-2 Program

1983-84

1983-84 10/15/1983 @ Pittsburgh Penguins W 5-1 Program
1983-84 1/17/1984 vs. New Jersey Devils T 3-3 Program

1991-92

1991-92 3/16/1992 @ Calgary Flames W 4-3 Program

 

==YouTube==

New England Whalers upset the Soviet Red Army team at the Hartford Civic Center. December 27, 1976.

 

==In Memoriam==

Defenseman Brad McCrimmon (Whalers ’93-’96) died on September 7, 2011 in the Lokomotiv Yaroslavl air disaster in Russia

Left wing Paul Cyr (Whalers ’90-’92) passed away from a heart attack on May 12, 2012 at age 48

 

==Links==

World Hockey Association Media Guides

World Hockey Association Programs

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1976-77 Hartford Downtowners

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Eastern Basketball Association (1976-1977)

Born: 1976
Folded: 1977

Arena: Bulkeley High School

Team Colors:

Owner:

EBA Championships: None

 

All-but-forgotten minor league basketball outfit that played just a single season in the Eastern Basketball Association in the winter of 1976-77. The Hartford Downtowners were the second Hartford-based entry in the Eastern League, replacing the more successful Hartford Capitols (1966-1974).

The club played its home games at Bulkeley High School and finished the 1976-77 season with a 5-19 record before quietly disbanding.

If you have any information or memorabilia from this team, please contact us.

 

==Links==

Eastern Basketball Association Programs

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Written by andycrossley

January 9th, 2016 at 8:00 pm

1970-1977 Scranton Apollos

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1973-74 Scranton Apollos ProgramEastern Basketball Association (1970-1977)

Born: 1970 – Re-branded from Scranton Miners
Folded: 1977

Arena: Scranton Catholic Youth Center

Team Colors:

Owner: Arthur Pachter

EBA Champions: 1971 and 1977

 

Text coming soon…

 

==Scranton Apollos Programs on Fun While It Lasted==

Season Date Opponent Score Program Other

1972-73

1972-73 2/24/1973 @ Allentown Jets ?? Program Roster

 

==Links==

Eastern Basketball Association Programs

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Written by andycrossley

January 8th, 2016 at 4:09 am

1973-1975 Cherry Hill Rookies

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Cherry Hill Rookies ProgramEastern Basketball Association (1973-1975)

Born: 1973
Folded: 1975

Arena: Cherry Hill Arena

Team Colors:

Owner: Rich Iannarella

EBA Championships: None

 

This short-lived minor league basketball outfit operated in Philadelphia suburb of Cherry Hill, New Jersey for two winters in the mid-1970’s.  Former Philadelphia 76ers executive Rich Iannarella purchased the Eastern Basketball Association franchise rights in 1973. It was a decision the promoter later characterized as “stupid” and “the worst financial mistake I ever made in my life” in an August 1977 interview with Delaware County Times columnist Gene Gomolka.

In February 1974, towards the end of the Rookies’ first season in the EBA, the wild former ABA All-Star John Brisker appeared briefly for Cherry Hill. Brisker played for the NBA’s Seattle Supersonics at the time, but didn’t get along with Sonics head coach Bill Russell.  Russell banished Brisker to Cherry Hill for three games in the middle of the 1973-74 season. Brisker poured in 58 and 51 points in the only two full games he played. Brisker’s career petered out in Seattle in 1975 at age 27. He vanished in Idi Amin’s Uganda in 1978 under mysterious circumstances and was never heard from again.

Rich Iannarella fled his failed venture after one season to become an executive with the Philadelphia Bell of the doomed World Football League. The Rookies went out of business less than a year later in 1975.

 

==In Memoriam==

John Brisker (Rookies ’74) was declared legally dead in 1985 seven years after his disappearance in Uganda.

 

==Links==

Eastern Basketball Association Programs

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Written by andycrossley

January 8th, 2016 at 3:07 am