Page 86 - 0320 Nostalgic Magazine
P. 86

Ken Siegel Sports Historian
REMEMBERING THE ABA
The The American Basketball Association (the “ABA”) only lasted for 9 seasons but it it had a a a a a a a a a a a a a a a a a a big impact on on on on on the the the the sport The The ABA
ABA
brought us a a a a a a a a a a a a a a a a a a a a a a a a a flashy fast break style of play the the the the the the 3 point arc and and the the the the the the slam dunk contest Perhaps it it it it is is best remembered though for for its red red white and and and blue basketball Former NBA great George Mikan was the the the the the the the first first ever commissioner when the the the the the the the league formed in in in in in in 1967 The Pittsburgh Pipers won won won the the the the the the the the first first championship championship in in in in in in 1968 and and and the the the the the the the the New York Nets won won won the the the the the the the the last title in in in in in in 1976 In In between the the the the the the the Indiana Pacers Pacers won won won 3 championships and and and played in in in in in in in 5 of the the the the the the the 9 9 9 9 Finals After the the the the the the the final season ended 4 ABA
teams merged into the the NBA: The Nets Pacers Pacers Nuggets and and Spurs However before the the the the ABA
ABA
ABA
folded basketball fans were entertained by many star players players players during the the the the league’s 9-year run Below is is is is is our list list list of the the the the the the top ten players players players in in in in in ABA
ABA
ABA
ABA
history Our list list list is is is is is is based solely on on players’ performance in in in in in the the the the the the ABA
ABA
ABA
ABA
and a a a a a a a a a a a a a a a a a a a a a a player player player player had to to to to have been in in the the the ABA
ABA
for for at least 2 seasons to to to qualify for for the the the list list list 10 Louie Dampier – not as as well remembered as as other ABA
stars because he he he he didn’t play play for a a a a a a a a a a a long time in the the the NBA afterwards Dampier is one one of the the the few people to have played in in all all 9 ABA
ABA
seasons (all for the the the Kentucky Colonels) As a a a a a a a a a a a a a result he he he is is the the ABA’s career leader in in in points scored assists and 3-pointers 9 Billy Cunningham – unique in in in in that he he he he he first played played in in in in the the the the NBA NBA then then played played 2 2 seasons seasons in in in in in in the the the the the the ABA
then then returned to the the the the the the NBA NBA During his 2 2 2 seasons seasons with the the the the the the Carolina Cougars Cunningham averaged 23 points per game and won the the the 1972- 1973 ABA
MVP Award 8 George Gervin – The “Iceman” averaged over 23 points per game during his 5-year ABA
career with the Virginia Squires and San Antonio Spurs 7 George McGinnis – averaged 25 2 2 2 points and 12 9 rebounds per game during 4 4 seasons with the the the the Indiana Pacers in in in in in in the the the the ABA
ABA
He was the the the the league’s Co-MVP in in in in in in 1974-75 when he he he he he he led the the the the ABA
ABA
in in in in in in scoring with 29 8 points per game 6 6 6 Mel Daniels – was the the the the league’s first ever Rookie of the the the the Year in in in 1967-1968 playing for for the the the the the Minnesota Muskies He then played 7 7 more ABA
seasons for for the the the Indiana Pacers averaging 15 rebounds rebounds per game He was a a a a a a a a a a a a a 2-time MVP 3-time rebounding leader and and had the most most rebounds rebounds and and 4th most most points scored in ABA
history 5 Connie Hawkins – was the the the ABA’s first ever MVP when he he he he he led the the the the Pittsburgh Pipers to the the the the 1967-1968 ABA
ABA
championship Averaged 28 2 2 2 2 points and and 12 6 6 6 rebounds in in in 2 2 2 2 seasons for the the the Pittsburgh and and Minnesota Pipers 4 Dan Issel Issel – averaged 25 6 6 points per game during 6 6 ABA
seasons for the the Kentucky Colonels and Denver Nuggets Issel Issel is is # 2 all-time in in in in in points scored in in in in in ABA
history He was the the the Rookie of the the Year and Scoring Champion in in in in in in 1970-71 when he he he he averaged 29 9 9 points per game 3 Rick Barry – is the the the the the only person to lead the the the the the NCAA the the the the the ABA
ABA
and and the the the the the the NBA in in in in in in scoring scoring He led the the the the the the ABA
ABA
in in in in in in scoring scoring in in in in in in 1968-69 when he he he he he averaged 34 points per game for the the the Oakland Oaks 2 2 2 2 Artis Gilmore Gilmore – Gilmore Gilmore was the the ABA’s Rookie of the the Year and and and MVP in in in 1971-72 He averaged 22 points and and and 17 rebounds per game in in in in in 5 seasons with the the Kentucky Colonels and and and led the the ABA
in in in rebounding 4 times 1 Julius Erving – “Dr J J ” was a a a a a a 3-time 3-time scoring champion champion a a a a a a 3-time 3-time MVP and led the Nets to two ABA
championships Erving averaged over 28 points per game during his 5-year ABA
ABA
career He also won the the first ever Slam Dunk Contest which was held at halftime of the the ABA’s 1976 All-Star Game Honorable Mentions: Moses Malone came right out of high school into the the ABA
where he he he he averaged averaged 17 points per game before becoming a a a a a a a a a a a big star in in in in in in in the the the NBA Charlie Scott averaged averaged an
an
ABA
high 30 6 points per game during his 2 seasons in in in in in the the league Spencer Haywood and David Thompson both starred for for just 1 season in the ABA
thus were not considered eligible for for our list but are worthy of honorable mentions Do you you agree with the the above rankings? What were your memories of the the ABA? Please let me me me know at at ksiegel@ nostalgicamerica com Ken Siegel is also the the author of of the the novels “The Courts of of Garrowville” and “The Wrong Man from Willingham” To learn more about his books please visit www garrowville com 



















































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