For you old school Knick fans look closely at the ABA ball….Yes that is former Knick Dave DeBusshere’s signature. He was the ABA’s Commissioner at one point. I never understood the NBA’s reluctance to include the St Louis Spirits and the Kentucky Colonels in the NBA instead they had a ABA dispersal draft to break up those two teams and spread the players around the NBA. I always believed if left alone the Colonels would have challenged the Lakers and Celtics as upper echelon teams. The Colonels at that point featured Artis Gilmore who was as ABA’s version of Kareem, Dan Issel and Louis Dampier. A very seldom known fact….The Kentucky Colonels were only one of two ABA teams, along with the Indiana Pacers, to play for the entire duration of the league without relocating, changing its team name or folding. That was rare indeed in a league that relocated teams or saw teams not even finish a game due to the fact they ran out of money to pay the workers…the Colonels were stable by ABA standards.
Another seldom known fact …The Colonels won the most games and had the highest winning percentage of any franchise in the league’s history.
They won their lone championship in 1975 against the Indiana Pacers 4 games to 1. In that game center Artis Gilmore scored 28 points and grabbed an amazing 31 rebounds in the final game.
That same season the Golden State Warriors won the NBA Title. Colonels owner, John Y. Brown, offered the NBA Champs a million dollars to play a one-game world championship. The Warriors and the NBA refused.
Smallthoughts: Old School Tuesday spotlights a team that should have been included in the NBA but will always have a home here at smallthoughtsinasportsworld…the Kentucky Colonels.
Enjoy the video courtesy of youtube. The second video features only the second half the game .
In October 1969 the Stars signed Zelmo Beaty away from the NBA’s Atlanta Hawks, but Beaty had to sit out the season due to a one-year option held by the Hawks, which the Stars would not buy out for $75,000. First year players Mack Calvin and Willie Wise signed with the Stars. The Stars finished fourth in the Western Division with a record of 43-41, earning the first winning season in franchise history and a playoff berth. The Stars defeated the Dallas Chaparrals 4 games to 2 in the Western Division semifinals and bested the Denver Rockets 4 games to 1 in the semifinals before losing the ABA championship series 4 games to 2 to the Indiana Pacers. Kirst had not anticipated the fast turnaround, and did not book the Sports Arena for several dates. They had to play several first and second round games in their old home in Anaheim, as well as at the Long Beach Sports Arena in Long Beach. This turned out to be their final game as the Los Angeles Stars.
Little known fact …this franchise featured legendary ABA iron man Ron Boone who played in 1,041 games straight in both the ABA and then in the NBA
In their first season in Salt Lake City, the Stars dominated their way to a 57-27 record and a 2nd-place finish in the Western Division standings, a game behind the Indiana Pacers. In the Western Division Semifinals, the Stars would go on to sweep the Texas Chaparrals and then stunned the Pacers in game 7 of the Western Division Finals, earning a spot in the ABA Championship.
The Stars would face the Kentucky Colonels in the ABA Championship. In game one a near-capacity crowd filed into the Salt Palace to watch the Stars defeat Kentucky 136-117. The Stars set an ABA Playoff record by scoring 50 points in the 2nd quarter. In game 2, the series continued its high scoring with the Stars beating Kentucky 138-125. The series shifted to Louisville and Kentucky took games 3 and 4, tying the series up at 2-2. The series then returned to Salt Lake City, where the Stars beat Kentucky 137-127, taking a 3-2 series lead. The Stars looked to wrap up the ABA Championship with a game 6 victory in Louisville. However Kentucky clawed their way to a 7th game, barely beating the Stars 105-102, sending the series to a decisive 7th game back in Salt Lake City.
With the ABA Championship on the line, an ABA record crowd of 13,260 packed into the Salt Palace to watch game 7 of the 1971 ABA Championship. The game remained close throughout, however the Stars pulled away late, winning the 1971 ABA Championship 131-121. As the game ended, hundreds of Stars fans rushed the court, lifting players onto their shoulders in a jubilant celebration. The actions were a total surprise to Stars officials, as they had not anticipated such a reaction from the fans.
The ABA teams frequently played exhibition games in the preseason vs. NBA teams. While the ABA overall had a winning record vs. the NBA in head to head competition, the Stars had an overall record of 7-9 against NBA teams.
The Stars’ first game against the NBA was a 96-89 loss at home to the New York Knicks on September 28, 1971. The Stars lost their first four games against NBA teams, earning their first win against that league with a win against the Seattle SuperSonics in Honolulu, Hawaii on September 24, 1972.
Other Stars wins against the NBA include defeating the Boston Celtics at home on October 4, 1973 (part of a double header in which 12,431 Utah fans also saw the ABA’s Denver Rockets defeat the NBA’s Phoenix Suns 113-111 prior to the Stars’ win); a home win against the Kansas City-Omaha Kings on October 8, 1974; a home win against the SuperSonics on October 7, 1975; a win against the Kings on October 11, 1975 in Denver as part of a double header in which 17,018 fans saw the Denver Nuggets lose to the NBA’s Golden State Warriors 115-100); and a 118-108 road win against the SuperSonics in Seattle on October 15, 1975.
Little known fact …the Utah Stars drafted Hall of Famer Moses Malone as a 19 year old out of High School in 1974 . Almost unheard of back in it’s time. (Bill Willoughby and Darryl Dawkins were the only ones to be drafted straight out of High school back then)
In the very last game ever played between ABA and NBA teams, the Stars defeated the Milwaukee Bucks 106-101 in Salt Lake City on October 21, 1975. (In the penultimate ABA vs. NBA matchup, the ABA’s Kentucky Colonels defeated the Washington Bullets 121-111 two nights prior.)
The fact that Jay Bruce is tied for the team lead in home runs with 6 and leads the team in RBI’s with 14 is something of a surprise for many Mets fans. Needing to get off to a good start and quiet the talk that he isn’t long for New York, Jay Bruce has let his bat do the talking. Case in point Wednesday night ,Bruce drove in a career-high-tying five runs with a pair of homers, the second a curtain-call-producing two-run shot in the bottom of the eighth that proved decisive, and the Mets ended a four-game losing streak with a 5-4 victory over the Philadelphia Phillies. It’s good to see Bruce hitting and hitting in big moments. Just remember the Mets tried all winter to trade Bruce with no takers. Maybe it was a good thing it didn’t happen can you imagine what kind of mess the Mets would be in if Bruce wasn’t here or wasn’t hitting?. Don’t forget, when he was traded to the Mets at the July 31 deadline he didn’t set the world on fire and Met fans including me was leading the charge to send him else where in the off season. Well we all should be glad at least for now.
Sometimes what starts out in sports spills into real life, O.J. Simpson murder trail, Penn State, Joe Paterno and Jerry Sandusky and now Aaron Hernandez. The focus on all three went from the accomplishments on the field (ironically all in football) to the tragedies to follow in their personal lives that engulfed others. Hernandez left behind a fiance’ and a daughter and the victim of the life he took Odin Lloyd in 2013. Alexander Bradley, once Hernandez’s close friend who the defense claimed was a drug dealer, violent criminal and liar. Bradley claimed Hernandez once shot him in the face. And that was someone he considered a close friend…what if Bradley was an enemy? This whole thing is one big tragedy for everyone other than Hernandez consider: two immigrants from Cape Verde, Safiro Furtado and Daniel de Abreu, are also dead, with no closure for their families. Hernandez was acquitted in a double murder trail which some thought would open the door to his being re tried off his life sentence, all of which makes his suicide all the more strange by the sheer timing of it. If nothing else we have learned yet again, the even when a star shines bright even one like Hernandez who had it all money, fame, family and brilliant career, for some despite the bright lights underneath is dark clouds of a troubled and violet life. Aaron Hernandez had it all and lost it all and by age 27 is now dead. This isn’t about just sports this was a tragedy in life.
Welcome back, how did you do with this week’s trivia question?
This week’s question was maybe a bit more challenging than usually but here is the answer
The four players who have won both the Heisman Trophy and Super Bowl MVP are:
Roger Staubach (Navy and Dallas Cowboys)
Jim Plunkett (Stanford and Oakland Raiders)
Marcus Allen (USC and the Oakland Raiders)
Desmond Howard (Michigan and Green Bay Packers)
If you had those 4 …you did real well. Thanks for stopping by and come back next Thursday for another Trivia question.