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On This Day In Sports: The ABA Plays Its Inaugural Game Between The Oakland Oaks and Anaheim Amigos

 

On this day in sports: October 13, 1967 The American Basketball Association played its inaugural game in Oakland, California between the Anaheim Amigos and the Oakland Oaks. The Oaks won the game 134 – 129, kicking off 9 years of very competitive basketball play which rivaled that of the National Basketball Association (NBA). In 1976 both leagues merged, giving birth to some of the NBA franchises that we have come to know and love to this day. Because the ABA allowed college undergraduates to sign with their teams, they were able to compete with the NBA for top talent despite the NBA’s history, higher salaries, and wider exposer. Some Hall of Fame basketball players that made their way through the ABA include but is not limited to Julius “Dr. J” Erving, George “Ice Man” Gervin, Rick Berry, Larry Brown, Moses Malone, and many more.

In 1970 the ABA landed in Memphis, Tennessee with the Memphis Pros, which lasted 3 years, the Memphis Tams (T.ennessee, A.rkansas, M.ississippi), which lasted 3 years, and later the Memphis Sounds, which lasted for 2 years. The Pros upon arrival were expected to play their home games at the Mid-South Coliseum, but because the venue had been booked prior to the team deciding to move to Memphis from New Orleans they only played 1 game at the Coliseum and the rest scattered throughout Tennessee and Mississippi in their first season. In the 1973 ABA Draft the team made a huge move, both on the court and in public relations, drafting hometown hero Larry Finch, who grew up in Memphis and played college basketball at Memphis State.

As with any start-up business the Memphis franchise had many ups and downs, eventually being sold and moved to Baltimore following the 1975 season.

Between 1975 and 1976 4 of the ABA franchises began to suffer dramatic financial losses eventually causing the teams to fold. The league now with only 7 franchises decided in the summer of 1976 that they would merge with the NBA.

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October 13, 2010 - Posted by | LA Lakers, Memphis Grizzlies, Miami Heat, NBA, This Day In Sports, Uncategorized

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