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Saturday, February 09, 2008

The ABA - Where Runners and Gunners Roamed

It's February. A sports fans dead zone. The NFL has crowned the Giants kings of the hill (thank God it wasn't those smug ass Patriots), baseball is months away and the college b-ball scene is plodding along until March Madness kicks off. What's a sports junkie to do?

Take the wayback machine and relive the wonderment and eccentricity that was the A.B.A - American Basketball Association. The ABA existed for nine glorious seasons and for a young Pistol Pete disciple in the 70's, it was everything that the dull and staid NBA wasn't - Cool uniforms, outlaw players and franchises, a red, white and blue rock and home to the most glorious Afro's ever.

Darnell Hillman - Winner of the coveted "Greatest Afro" award.

Michael Jackson of the Utah Stars and Virginia Squires - always a bridesmaid to Hillman but impressive nonetheless.

The Immortal Wendall Ladner
Known for his hustle and physical play. One of the great "enforcers" of the ABA--protected Dan Issel in Kentucky and Julius Erving in New York. Immensely popular wherever he played. His good looks prompted the Kentucky front office to market a Ladner "beefcake" poster (above) to the Colonels' female fans . Held the unofficial pro sports record for being traded the most times in mid-season. Tragically died in a June 1975 plane crash in New York.

Fashion? The ABA was a virtual kaleidescope of every hue and tone.
Check out Johnny Brisker and this get-up.

How about Ron Franz' bells and puffed-sleeve shirts. Pure class and comfort.

Lots more stuff here: Remember The ABA
Excellent Read: Loose Balls