Lively Tales About Dead Teams

Archive for the ‘ABA’ tag

1968-1970 Los Angeles Stars

leave a comment

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

Born: 1968 – The Anaheim Amigos relocate to Los Angeles, CA.
Moved: June 11, 1970 (Utah Stars)

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 Programs on Fun While It Lasted==

Date Opponent Score Program Other

1969-70

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

###

Written by AC

October 20th, 2014 at 2:42 am

January 28, 1975 – American Basketball Association All-Star Game

one comment

American Basketball Association All-Star Game
January 28, 1975
HemisFair Arena
Attendance: 10,449

American Basketball Association Programs

 

Beautiful program for the 8th annual American Basketball Association All-Star Game at San Antonio in January 1975.

What a roster of All-Stars… Julius Erving headlined the East starting line-up as the only unanimous All-Star selection from the ABA’s media and broadcasters.  He was joined by guards Louie Dampier of the Kentucky Colonels and Freddie Lewis of the Spirits of St. Louis, rookie forward Marvin “Bad News” Barnes of St. Louis and Kentucky’s 7′ 2″ center Artis Gilmore.  Future Hall-of-Famer Dan Issel came off the bench for the East.

The West starting line-up featured a pair of big men from the host San Antonio Spurs in center Swen Nater and forward George Gervin.  Indiana Pacers forward George McGinniss rounded out the West’s front three.  Mack Calvin of the Denver Nuggets and Ron Boone of the Utah Stars were starting guards.  Rookie Moses Malone of Utah was among the reserves.

West coach Larry Brown made sure that the three San Antonio Spurs selections saw plenty of action in front of the home crowd.  Gervin led the West with 23 points and fellow Spur James Silas was right behind with 21.  Swen Nater, the ABA’s top rebounder, added 12 points and 5 boards.

The program art promised a “Shootout in Ol’ San Antone” and that exactly what the All-Stars delivered.  The East came out on top 151-124, running the conference advantage in ABA All-Star classics to 5-3.  Freddie Lewis of St. Louis led all scorers with 26 points and earned Most Valuable Player honors.

The ABA played one more All-Star Game after this one, at Denver in January 1976.  That historic game introduced the first Slam Dunk Contest, won by Julius Erving at halftime.  The ABA merged into the NBA in June 1976.

 

==Links==

1975 ABA All-Star Game Box Score on Basketball-Reference.com

###

Written by AC

September 22nd, 2013 at 1:38 pm

April 3, 1970 – Carolina Cougars vs. Pittsburgh Pipers

2 comments

Carolina Cougars vs. Pittsburgh Pipers
April 3, 1970
Dorton Arena
Attendance: 6,142

American Basketball Association Programs
52 pages

 

The Carolina Cougars and Pittsburgh Pipers in late season American Basketball Association action from the 1969-70 season.  The Cougars were a regional club that split home games between Charlotte, Greensboro and Raleigh.  This game was played at Raleigh’s Dorton Arena.  The Cougars pulled away late with a 22-7 run to demolish the lowly Pipers, who would finish the season 29-55.

That’s the late Calvin Fowler (#24) out of Saint Francis University on the cover.  Fowler had an accomplished but unconventional basketball career.   Fowler graduated Saint Francis in 1962 and then joined the United States Army.  He spent most of the rest his twenties playing amateur AAU basketball for the Akron Goodyear Wingfoots and he attracted the attention of the U.S. Olympic Team.  Fowler represented the United States at the 1967 World Championships and the Pan-American games and then was named co-Captain of the 1968 U.S. Olympic Team, which won the gold medal at Mexico City.

Fowler was a 29-year old rookie with the Cougars during the 1969-70 season and, although he would appear in 78 of Carolina’s 84 games, those turned out to be the only professional games he would ever play.  The Cougars cut Fowler in training camp in 1970 and that marked the end of his brief and unusual career.   Calvin Fowler passed away on March 5, 2013 at age 73.

There was at least one other cult player in this game.  The Pipers’ leading scorer on the night was a 6′ 5″ rookie out of the University of Toledo named John Brisker. Talented and volatile, Brisker was considered one of the most intimidating players in the ABA.  Three years after his basketball career ended, Brisker travelled to Uganda under murky circumstances, possible as a mercenary, during the waning days of the Idi Amin regime.   He vanished in the spring of 1978 and was never heard from again.  Brisker was declared legally dead in 1985.

==Links==

Calvin Fowler Obituary 

###

Written by AC

July 1st, 2013 at 8:37 pm

1967-1969 Houston Mavericks

leave a comment

American Basketball Association (1967-1969)

Born: February 2, 1967 – ABA founding franchise.
Died:1969 – The Mavericks relocate to North Carolina (Carolina Cougars).

Arena: Sam Houston Coliseum

Owner: T.C. Morrow

 

The Houston Mavericks were a short-lived and spectacularly unpopular franchise in the iconic American Basketball Association (1967-1976). Awarded as one of the league’s founding franchises on February 2, 1967, the Mavs were owned by Texas oilman T.C. Morrow, one the new league’s wealthiest backers.

Things got off to a rough start when Mavs Head Coach & General Manager Slater Martin traveled to Oakland for the ABA’s first college draft in 1967 and discovered that Morrow and his partners had neglected to post the team’s $30,000 performance bond, which was required to participate in the draft. Slater, shut out of the draft room, desperately phoned bankers back in Texas to raise the money. By the time he satisfied ABA officials, the draft was in the 5th round. The club was cobbled together from journeymen and finished 29-49 in 1967-68.

Worse than the on-court mediocrity was the apathy of the Houston citizenry to their first professional basketball team. Houston had the worst attendance in the ABA. Regardless of what the team claimed, reporters often eye-balled crowds in the low triple digits at the 8,900-seat Sam Houston Coliseum.

In March 1968 the Mavericks sparked a feud with the National Basketball Association as both leagues courted University of Houston star Elvin Hayes. T.C. Morrow offered Hayes a two-year $500,000 contract to sign with the ABA, but Hayes declined to even negotiate with the Mavericks. He took less money to sign with the San Diego Rockets of the NBA, where he was the #1 overall selection in the 1968 draft. Stunned by the rejection, Morrow accused the Rockets of illegally paying Hayes under the table while he was still playing college basketball. The Mavericks also pursued Hayes’ University of Houston teammate Don Chaney, another NBA 1st round draft pick. Like Hayes, Chaney spurned the ABA in favor of the established league.

Morrow lost interest early in the ABA’s second season in 1968-69. He walked away and turned the franchise back to the league in late 1968. The ABA quietly operated the Mavs for several weeks as wards of the league.

Meanwhile, Commissioner George Mikan grew increasingly concerned about the abysmal support for the Mavericks in Houston and attempted to send players to Houston who might spark more fan interest. The only problem was that Mavs coach Slater Martin (Mikan’s former teammate on five NBA world championship teams with the Minneapolis Lakers) didn’t want the players Mikan was foisting on him. Martin quit midway through the season.

ABA soon officials found a new buyer for the Mavericks in former North Carolina congressman James Gardner. Gardner took over the club in January 1969 and agreed to finish out the season in Houston, but made it clear that the club would move to North Carolina for the 1969-70 season. This left the Mavs to finish the 1968-69 campaign as lame ducks.

The ABA’ brief two-year stay in Houston came to a merciful end on April 2, 1969, when the Mavs defeated the New York Nets 149-132 in the season finale at Sam Houston Coliseum. By this point, what was left of the Mavs’ staff no longer bothered to embellish the attendance figures. The official attendance for the game was 89 fans.

##

Houston Oilers AFL owner Bud Adams was a minority partner in the original Mavericks ownership group led by T.C. Morrow.

The Mavs franchise existed for the entire nine-season run of the ABA. The club became the Carolina Cougars from 1969-1974 and later moved again to become the Spirits of St. Louis from 1974 to 1976. The franchise folded when the ABA merged with the NBA in 1976.

Seven years after the Mavericks tried to sign him, Don Chaney would sign with the former Mavs franchise, playing the 1975-76 season with the Spirits of St. Louis.

Two years after the Mavs left town, Houston got an NBA franchise when the San Diego Rockets moved to town in 1971. The Rockets brought Elvin Hayes – the player most coveted by the Mavericks – with them.

Written by AC

January 5th, 2013 at 4:20 am

December 22, 1973 – Utah Stars vs. Kentucky Colonels

leave a comment

Utah Stars vs. Kentucky Colonels
December 22, 1973
The Salt Palace
American Basketball Association Programs

“Christmas Greetings” from the Utah Stars of the American Basketball Association, circa 1973.

 

Written by AC

December 25th, 2012 at 3:20 am

Follow

Get every new post on this blog delivered to your Inbox.

Join other followers: