Nicknamed “Pogo Joe” or “Jumping Joe” for his leaping abilities, Caldwell was a 6’5″ guard/forward from Arizona State University. Though drafted by the Detroit Pistons in 1964, he spent the majority of his NBA career with the St. Louis/Atlanta Hawks franchise. After averaging 21.1 points per game during the 1969–70 NBA season, Caldwell jumped to the rival ABA, playing for the Carolina Cougars from 1970 to 1974. More than just a high-flying scorer, Caldwell was also a tenacious defender, and basketball legend Julius Erving once said that Caldwell guarded him better than any player in the ABA.
During the 1974–75 season, St. Louis management blamed Caldwell for influencing team star Marvin Barnes to briefly leave the team. Caldwell denied doing this but he was suspended for “activities detrimental to the best interests of professional basketball.” Caldwell never played another pro basketball game and has filed various lawsuits because he believes that he was wrongly blacklisted by the ABA and later the NBA. He scored 12,619 combined NBA/ABA career points.
Smallthoughts: Old School Tuesday spotlights…Joe Cardwell.
|1965–1970||St. Louis / Atlanta Hawks|
|1970–1975||Carolina Cougars / Spirits of St. Louis|
|Career highlights and awards|
|Career NBA and ABA statistics|
|Points||12,619 (16.1 ppg)|
|Rebounds||4,117 (5.3 rpg)|
|Assists||2,647 (3.4 apg)|