From 1967 to 1976, the American Basketball Association delivered wild, raw, above-the-rim hoops that few ever saw (lacking TV broadcasts). They introduced the 3-point shot and slam-dunk contests (along with a red, white and blue ball, short shorts and big afros), brought pro ball to the American South, and launched the careers of Connie (the Hawk) Hawkins, Bob Costas, George Gervin, Fly Williams, David Thompson and a guy named Julius Erving. You know, Doctor J. [more inside]
Update: In Sept. '09 I posted about Artis Gilmore being denied his place in the Basketball Hall Of Fame. Injustice rectified. [more inside]
What might be the most profitable team in professional sports hasn't played a game since 1976. That summer, as the American Basketball Association was completing its merger with the NBA, only four of the six remaining teams were going to be able to join the league. It was the ABA's responsibility to figure out how to pay off the other 2 owners. One owner accepted $3 million, which he eventually used to buy the Boston Celtics. The other owners got a slightly better deal.
Basketball doesn't have baseball's numerous simmering controversies over Hall of Fame inductees, but the greatest basketball player denied enshrinement may be 11-time ABA and NBA All Star center Artis Gilmore. At 7-foot-2 plus 4 inches for his towering afro, they called him "The A-Train" for his powerful but unpretentious play, and today on his 60th birthday he still owns career records in the NCAA (22.7 rebounds per game) and NBA (59.9% field goal percentage). OK, I only posted this so I could link to these three photos. [more inside]
In 1976 four ABA teams joined the NBA. This left 2 teams to be compensated. One team accepted a $3 million buyout. The other team, as per an agreement made 6 months earlier and thought up by the owner of the team, got 1/7 of the other 4 teams television money forever. Has there ever been a better business deal/gamble?