What if Kareem Abdul Jabbar signed with the ABA in 1969

Kareem Abdul Jabbar was one of the greatest basketball players ever and had probably the most perfect basketball career of all time as he dominated in high school and college before joining the NBA in 1969 and having a 20 year career in the league winning 6 MVP’s and 6 Championships along with many other accolades but instead of Kareem joining the NBA and eventually playing with Magic Johnson what if he signed with the ABA in 1969 and more specifically for the New York Nets.

This is something that actually could have happened as has been told in Terry Pluto’s oral history of the ABA titled Loose Balls which is a great and inciting read. As Mike Storen who was the GM of the Indiana Pacers at the time tells it in Pluto’s book the ABA put together a psychological profile on Abdul Jabbar who was known as Lew Alcindor at the time which they spent around $10,000 to create this profile and got 2 clear things about how Alcindor would make his decision

  1. Alcindor would make the decision himself. It wouldn’t be (UCLA booster and Alcindor’s agent) Sam Gilbert. Nor would it be (UCLA coach) John Wooden, or Alcindor’s parents, or a friend. Alcindor had enough confidence in himself to decide himself.
  2. Once he made that decision, he would stick to it. He had a very strong strain of loyalty and you could place a lot of faith in what he said.

To provide some context on how big a signing Alcindor would have been for the 3 year old league he would have been their undisputed star and probably would have fast tracked a merger with the NBA as on the list of sure things to enter the NBA contain the following names Wilt, Oscar, Kareem, Bird, Magic, Sampson, Hakeem, Jordan, Ewing, Robinson, Shaq, Duncan, LeBron, Durant, Davis and Zion as 10 of them are hall of famers and 2 of them are guaranteed to be inducted once there careers are over that is a pretty good list.

In 1969 Alcindor was the undisputed no 1 prospect to who was leaving college as he had dominated in college winning 3 consecutive national titles with UCLA and losing only 2 games in the 3 years that he played at UCLA. Both leagues also needed him desperately as for the NBA he would be the biggest star to join the league since Oscar Robertson in 1960 and for the ABA he would have made their league legitimate and given them a national TV contract and fast tracked an eventual merger with the NBA

And to add a sweetener to the ABA’s plan to sign Alcindor the team he would have joined were the New York Nets who had earned the rights to Alcindor by being the worst team in the league and as Alcindor was from New York the ABA thought that coming home would appeal to him in addition to being near family and it having a Muslim population with him having just converted to Islam which lead to him changing his name in 1971 and the ABA also thought that New York would be a better place for him to play in than Milwaukee who had his NBA rights which they were right about because he ended up leaving Milwaukee after 6 seasons and went to Los Angeles where he would spend the remainder of his career.

With all of that it sounded like the ABA had the better chance of obtaining Alcindor and to ensure that Alcindor signed with them they wrote up a $1 million dollar check which they were to give to Alcindor as part of their offer. The reasons for this were twofold firstly it would show that the ABA were in good financial shape and it would also make Alcindor an instant millionaire if he signed with the ABA which from doing their research the ABA knew that Alcindor would like that and it would help them to obtain Alcindor’s signature.

So Lew tells both the NBA and ABA that he would be in New York on a certain date and that he would take an offer from each team and would make a decision and that they were to give him one offer and he would make his decision based on that.

The problem comes in here as the then commissioner of the ABA George Mikan who was the first great NBA player leading the Minneapolis Lakers to 5 NBA titles in 6 years wanted to be in on the signing as did Arthur Brown who was the then owner of the Nets the team that had Alcindor’s rights and it was decided that it would be only these 2 who would be presenting the ABA’s offer. Why having Mikan in on the signing be a problem became apparent when he and Brown returned to Mike Storen having presented the ABA’s offer to Alcindor when Storen asked ‘’ That check got us where we wanted to go right’’? “Mikan said, ‘We decided that it wasn’t necessary to give him our best offer. We figure when he comes back to us, then we’ll use the check for the second round of talks.’

“Storen screamed, ‘You did what?’
“Mikan said, ‘Don’t panic, we know that he’s coming back. He’s going to get the NBA’s offer and he’ll come back to us.’
“Storen said, ‘Is that what he said he would do?’
“Mikan said, ‘Not exactly. The kid did say that he would make the decision.’
The ABA’s offer was $1 million for 4 years while the NBA’s was $1.4 million for 5 years not surprisingly Alcindor chose the NBA and the ABA’s chance to land the best player of the 1970’s was gone just like that and in a stunning surprise George Mikan was fired as commissioner of the ABA.

This is where the divergence comes in as in our scenario Mikan gives Alcindor that check and a mink coat for his mother and Alcindor signs for the ABA with this one decision the next 50 years of professional basketball in the US will look very different than in our timeline and the destinies of some of the NBA's greatest players look very different
 
Bill Simmons talked about this in his book, and covered the same points that you did.

If the Nets get Kareem, I see the ABA getting a national deal with one of the major networks, which would be huge. That would make it a stronger league, no doubt.

With Oscar Robertson's lawsuit, though, a merger probably still gets delayed until the mid-to-late 70's. Maybe we see the Utah Rockies team that was going to happen, and that team gets merged into the NBA by 1979 or 80, blocking the Jazz's move to NO.

Also, if the Bucks lose Kareem, that may have a disasterous affect on that franchise, and they may eventually move to Minnesota or St. Louis or somewhere like that.
 
The Nets had the ABA's premier superstar before the merger. Julius Erving. However, during the merger, the Nets were required to pay not just the expansion fee but $4.8 million to the Knicks for entering their territory. In shaky financial position (because they were an ABA team, even one that had 2 straight championships), they were forced to accept a deal that sent Dr J to Philadelphia for $6 m.

Wikipedia states that for all intents and purposes, the Nets traded Dr J for a berth in the NBA. (Worth it).

If Kareem is on the Nets, there is a good chance they cant afford Dr J. He might end up in the NBA, or on another team. The Nets will also unlikely to be in a financial position to keep Kareem after the merger. Kareem was apparently willing to play in only New York or LA, and it seems unlikely the Nets would send him to the Knicks (but who knows, Philadelphia isnt far either).
 

Driftless

Donor
Also, if the Bucks lose Kareem, that may have a disasterous affect on that franchise, and they may eventually move to Minnesota or St. Louis or somewhere like that.

No Kareem, then no Oscar, which means no championship in Milwaukee. Bob Dandridge was an outstanding player(loong overdue, but finally in the HoF), but not enough by himself to carry that early team too far into the playoffs That championship legacy carried the franchise during some of its formative years. The team is probably moved before someone like Sen Herb Kohl buys it to keep it local. He in turn uses the funds invested in the original purchase of the Bucks for more local philanthropic work in Wisconsin.
 
Ok, so Kareem joins in 1969, I'd say the biggest possible butterfly is the ABA possibly eventually gaining a national TV contract. If such a huge name joined so early, youd expect to see more players make the jump. In that case, maybe the Dr and Kareem do get united in New York. Maybe the Nets can hold on to Dr J by offering Kareem to the Knicks. Or maybe they become an ABA dynasty and decide to just pay the Knicks.

Maybe more than 4 teams join; maybe the 3 point line comes to the NBA with the merger!
 
Ok, so Kareem joins in 1969, I'd say the biggest possible butterfly is the ABA possibly eventually gaining a national TV contract. If such a huge name joined so early, youd expect to see more players make the jump. In that case, maybe the Dr and Kareem do get united in New York. Maybe the Nets can hold on to Dr J by offering Kareem to the Knicks. Or maybe they become an ABA dynasty and decide to just pay the Knicks.

Maybe more than 4 teams join; maybe the 3 point line comes to the NBA with the merger!
More Important, if george steinbrenner cleveland pipers is one of them...that change baseball history as we knew it too
 
1969-70 ABA Season
Alcindor joins the ABA in its third season and his signing for the league pays immediate dividends as the ABA gets a National TV Contract with CBS for the next 4 seasons running to 1973 in addition fans flock in greater numbers than before to see Alcindor in action and he doesn't disappoint the fans as in his first game he averages 29, 12 and 6 as he picked up where he left off from his UCLA days and quickly asserted himself as the best player in the league. As for the Nets the team he joined contained players such as Levern Tart, Bill Melchonni and Les Hunter and with the addition of Alcindor the Nets record improved to 53-31 and also built up a rivalry with another star rookie big man in Spencer Haywood of the Denver Rockets and it quickly became apparent that the race for both the MVP and the Rookie of the Year would go to these two players. Haywood would win the All Star Game MVP as the West would prove to be too good for the East but it would be Alcindor who would win the major individual awards of Rookie of the Year and MVP.

In the playoffs some changes were already taking place as due to the Nets having home court advantage they would win the first round matchup against the Colonels in 7 games but would fall short to the experience of the Indiana Pacers as they would double on Alcindor as the Nets had no other major threat on the team though the Pacers were taken to 6 games they would still win the series and the ABA title with Roger Brown being named as the Playoffs MVP for this season for his effort in giving Indiana their first professional basketball title. Alcindor's first season was a success for him as a player but not as a team though due to the elimination at the hand of the Pacers who were now seen as the Yardstick in the ABA and it was clear that the Nets needed more help for them to win an ABA title.

Eastern Division​


Eastern DivisionWLPCTGB
Indiana Pacers *5727.700-
New York Nets *5331.5164.0
Kentucky Colonels *4341.48014.0
Carolina Cougars *4044.46417.0
Pittsburgh Pipers2658.34531.0
Miami Floridians2262.27435.0

Western Division​

Western DivisionWLPCTGB
Denver Rockets *5034.594-
Dallas Chaparrals *4539.5365.0
Washington Caps *4341.5127.0
Los Angeles Stars *4341.5127.0
New Orleans Buccaneers4044.48010.0



1970 ABA All Star Game Rosters

West

PG Jimmy Jones (New Orleans Buccaneers)
SG Larry Jones ( Denver Rockets)
SF Warren Jabali (Washington Capitols)
PF Cincinnatus Powell (Dallas Chaparrals)
C Spencer Haywood (Denver Rockets)


Bench:

PG Larry Brown ( Washington Capitols)
SG Glen Combs ( Dallas Chaparrals)
SG Steve Jones ( New Orleans Buccaneers)
SF Rick Barry ( Washington Capitols)
PF Warren Davis ( Los Angeles Stars)
PF John Beasley ( Dallas Chaparrals)
C Gerald Goven ( New Orleans Buccaneers)

East

PG Louie Dampier ( Kentucky Colonels)
SG Donnie Freeman ( Miami Floridians)
SF Doug Moe (Carolina Cougars)
PF Bob Netolicky ( Indiana Pacers)
C Lew Alcindor ( New York Nets)

Bench


PG Charlie Williams ( Pittsburgh Pipers)
SG Darel Carrier ( Kentucky Colonels)
SG Bob Verga ( Carolina Cougars)
SG Levern Tart ( New York Nets)
SF Roger Brown ( Indiana Pacers)
C Gene Moore ( Kentucky Colonels)
C Mel Daniels ( Indiana Pacers)

1970 ABA Playoffs

Western Division

Denver (1) vs Washington (3)

Dallas (2) vs Los Angeles (4)

Eastern Division

Indiana (1) vs Carolina ( 3)

New York (2) vs Kentucky (4)

Western Division

Division Semifinals


(1) Denver Rockets vs. (3) Washington Caps: Rockets win series 4-3

  • Game 1 @ Denver: Denver 130, Washington 111
  • Game 2 @ Denver: Denver 143, Washington 133
  • Game 3 @ Washington: Washington 125, Denver 120
  • Game 4 @ Washington: Washington 131, Denver 114
  • Game 5 @ Denver: Denver 132, Washington 110
  • Game 6 @ Washington: Washington 116, Denver 111
  • Game 7 @ Denver: Denver 143, Washington 119
(2) Dallas Chaparrals vs. (4) Los Angeles Stars: Stars win series 4-2

  • Game 1 @ Dallas: Los Angeles 115, Dallas 103
  • Game 2 @ Dallas: Dallas 129, Los Angeles 121
  • Game 3 @ Los Angeles: Dallas 116, Los Angeles 104
  • Game 4 @ Los Angeles: Los Angeles 144, Dallas 138
  • Game 5 @ Dallas: Los Angeles 146, Dallas 139
  • Game 6 @ Los Angeles: Los Angeles 124, Dallas 123
Division Finals

(1) Denver Rockets vs. (4) Los Angeles Stars: Stars win series 4-1

  • Game 1 @ Denver: Denver 123, Los Angeles 113
  • Game 2 @ Denver: Los Angeles 114, Denver 105
  • Game 3 @ Los Angeles: Los Angeles 119, Denver 113
  • Game 4 @ Los Angeles: Los Angeles 114, Denver 110
  • Game 5 @ Denver: Los Angeles 109, Denver 107

Eastern Division

Division Semifinals


(1) Indiana Pacers vs. (3) Carolina Cougars: Pacers win series 4-0

  • Game 1 @ Indiana: Indiana 123, Carolina 105
  • Game 2 @ Indiana: Indiana 103, Carolina 98
  • Game 3 @ Carolina: Indiana 115, Carolina 106
  • Game 4 @ Carolina: Indiana 110, Carolina 106
(2) New York Nets vs. (4) Kentucky Colonels: Nets win series 4-3

  • Game 1 @ Kentucky: New York 122, Kentucky 118
  • Game 2 @ Kentucky: Kentucky 113, New York 111
  • Game 3 @ New York: New York 107, Kentucky 99
  • Game 4 @ New York: Kentucky 128, New York 101
  • Game 5 @ Kentucky: New York 127, Kentucky 112
  • Game 6 @ New York: Kentucky 116, New York 113
  • Game 7 @ New York: New York 112, Kentucky 101
Division Finals

(1) Indiana Pacers vs. (2) New York Nets: Pacers win series 4-2

  • Game 1 @ Indiana: New York 114, Indiana 110
  • Game 2 @ Indiana: Indiana 121, New York 110
  • Game 3 @ New York: New York 118, Indiana 114
  • Game 4 @ New York: Indiana 111, New York 103
  • Game 5 @ Indiana: Indiana 117, New York 103
  • Game 6 @ New York: Indiana 110, New York 105

ABA Finals

(1) Indiana Pacers VS. (4) Los Angeles Stars: Pacers win series 4-2

  • Game 1 @ Indiana: Indiana 109, Los Angeles 93
  • Game 2 @ Indiana: Indiana 114, Los Angeles 111
  • Game 3 @ Los Angeles: Los Angeles 109, Indiana 106
  • Game 4 @ Los Angeles: Indiana 142, Los Angeles 120
  • Game 5 @ Indiana: Los Angeles 117, Indiana 113
  • Game 6 @ Los Angeles: Indiana 111, Los Angeles 107

Next to see how the NBA season fared after losing the most hyped college prospect since Wilt Chamberlain
 
Last edited:
Alcindor joins the ABA in its third season and his signing for the league pays immediate dividends as the ABA gets a National TV Contract with CBS for the next 4 seasons running to 1973 in addition fans flock in greater numbers than before to see Alcindor in action and he doesn't disappoint the fans as in his first game he averages 29, 12 and 6 as he picked up where he left off from his UCLA days and quickly asserted himself as the best player in the league. As for the Nets the team he joined contained players such as Levern Tart, Bill Melchonni and Les Hunter and with the addition of Alcindor the Nets record improved to 53-31 and also built up a rivalry with another star rookie big man in Spencer Haywood of the Denver Rockets and it quickly became apparent that the race for both the MVP and the Rookie of the Year would go to these two players. Haywood would win the All Star Game MVP as the West would prove to be too good for the East but it would be Alcindor who would win the major individual awards of Rookie of the Year and MVP.

In the playoffs some changes were already taking place as due to the Nets having home court advantage they would win the first round matchup against the Colonels in 7 games but would fall short to the experience of the Indiana Pacers as they would double on Alcindor as the Nets had no other major threat on the team though the Pacers were taken to 6 games they would still win the series and the ABA title with Roger Brown being named as the Playoffs MVP for this season for his effort in giving Indiana their first professional basketball title. Alcindor's first season was a success for him as a player but not as a team though due to the elimination at the hand of the Pacers who were now seen as the Yardstick in the ABA and it was clear that the Nets needed more help for them to win an ABA title.

Eastern Division​


Eastern DivisionWLPCTGB
Indiana Pacers *5727.700-
New York Nets *5331.5164.0
Kentucky Colonels *4341.48014.0
Carolina Cougars *4044.46417.0
Pittsburgh Pipers2658.34531.0
Miami Floridians2262.27435.0

Western Division​

Western DivisionWLPCTGB
Denver Rockets *5034.594-
Dallas Chaparrals *4539.5365.0
Washington Caps *4341.5127.0
Los Angeles Stars *4341.5127.0
New Orleans Buccaneers4044.48010.0



1970 ABA All Star Game Rosters

West

PG Jimmy Jones (New Orleans Buccaneers)
SG Larry Jones ( Denver Rockets)
SF Warren Jabali (Washington Capitols)
PF Cincinnatus Powell (Dallas Chaparrals)
C Spencer Haywood (Denver Rockets)


Bench:

PG Larry Brown ( Washington Capitols)
SG Glen Combs ( Dallas Chaparrals)
SG Steve Jones ( New Orleans Buccaneers)
SF Rick Barry ( Washington Capitols)
PF Warren Davis ( Los Angeles Stars)
PF John Beasley ( Dallas Chaparrals)
C Gerald Goven ( New Orleans Buccaneers)

East

PG Louie Dampier ( Kentucky Colonels)
SG Donnie Freeman ( Miami Floridians)
SF Doug Moe (Carolina Cougars)
PF Bob Netolicky ( Indiana Pacers)
C Lew Alcindor ( New York Nets)

Bench


PG Charlie Williams ( Pittsburgh Pipers)
SG Darel Carrier ( Kentucky Colonels)
SG Bob Verga ( Carolina Cougars)
SG Levern Tart ( New York Nets)
SF Roger Brown ( Indiana Pacers)
C Gene Moore ( Kentucky Colonels)
C Mel Daniels ( Indiana Pacers)

1970 ABA Playoffs

Western Division

Denver (1) vs Washington (3)

Dallas (2) vs Los Angeles (4)

Eastern Division

Indiana (1) vs Carolina ( 3)

New York (2) vs Kentucky (4)

Western Division

Division Semifinals


(1) Denver Rockets vs. (3) Washington Caps: Rockets win series 4-3

  • Game 1 @ Denver: Denver 130, Washington 111
  • Game 2 @ Denver: Denver 143, Washington 133
  • Game 3 @ Washington: Washington 125, Denver 120
  • Game 4 @ Washington: Washington 131, Denver 114
  • Game 5 @ Denver: Denver 132, Washington 110
  • Game 6 @ Washington: Washington 116, Denver 111
  • Game 7 @ Denver: Denver 143, Washington 119
(2) Dallas Chaparrals vs. (4) Los Angeles Stars: Stars win series 4-2

  • Game 1 @ Dallas: Los Angeles 115, Dallas 103
  • Game 2 @ Dallas: Dallas 129, Los Angeles 121
  • Game 3 @ Los Angeles: Dallas 116, Los Angeles 104
  • Game 4 @ Los Angeles: Los Angeles 144, Dallas 138
  • Game 5 @ Dallas: Los Angeles 146, Dallas 139
  • Game 6 @ Los Angeles: Los Angeles 124, Dallas 123
Division Finals

(1) Denver Rockets vs. (4) Los Angeles Stars: Stars win series 4-1

  • Game 1 @ Denver: Denver 123, Los Angeles 113
  • Game 2 @ Denver: Los Angeles 114, Denver 105
  • Game 3 @ Los Angeles: Los Angeles 119, Denver 113
  • Game 4 @ Los Angeles: Los Angeles 114, Denver 110
  • Game 5 @ Denver: Los Angeles 109, Denver 107

Eastern Division

Division Semifinals


(1) Indiana Pacers vs. (3) Carolina Cougars: Pacers win series 4-0

  • Game 1 @ Indiana: Indiana 123, Carolina 105
  • Game 2 @ Indiana: Indiana 103, Carolina 98
  • Game 3 @ Carolina: Indiana 115, Carolina 106
  • Game 4 @ Carolina: Indiana 110, Carolina 106
(2) New York Nets vs. (4) Kentucky Colonels: Nets win series 4-3

  • Game 1 @ Kentucky: New York 122, Kentucky 118
  • Game 2 @ Kentucky: Kentucky 113, New York 111
  • Game 3 @ New York: New York 107, Kentucky 99
  • Game 4 @ New York: Kentucky 128, New York 101
  • Game 5 @ Kentucky: New York 127, Kentucky 112
  • Game 6 @ New York: Kentucky 116, New York 113
  • Game 7 @ New York: New York 112, Kentucky 101
Division Finals

(1) Indiana Pacers vs. (2) New York Nets: Pacers win series 4-2

  • Game 1 @ Indiana: New York 114, Indiana 110
  • Game 2 @ Indiana: Indiana 121, New York 110
  • Game 3 @ New York: New York 118, Indiana 114
  • Game 4 @ New York: Indiana 111, New York 103
  • Game 5 @ Indiana: Indiana 117, New York 103
  • Game 6 @ New York: Indiana 110, New York 105

ABA Finals

(1) Indiana Pacers VS. (4) Los Angeles Stars: Pacers win series 4-2

  • Game 1 @ Indiana: Indiana 109, Los Angeles 93
  • Game 2 @ Indiana: Indiana 114, Los Angeles 111
  • Game 3 @ Los Angeles: Los Angeles 109, Indiana 106
  • Game 4 @ Los Angeles: Indiana 142, Los Angeles 120
  • Game 5 @ Indiana: Los Angeles 117, Indiana 113
  • Game 6 @ Los Angeles: Indiana 111, Los Angeles 107

Next to see how the NBA season fared after losing the most hyped college prospect since Wilt Chamberlain
Fantastic
 
1969-70 NBA Season
Even if not for the introduction of a generational talent into professional basketball it was the beginning of a new era in the NBA as the Boston Celtics dynasty was over with the dual retirements of Sam Jones and Bill Russell heralding a rebuild for the Celtics with the major star now being John Havlicek as Red Auerbach sought to work his magic once again.

Without Alcindor the 1969 NBA Draft would end up being nowhere near as good it could have been with Jo Jo White being the best pick as far the NBA went. As for the team that would have drafted him in the Milwaukee Bucks without Alcindor lost 18 games and ended the season with 38 wins and didn't make the playoffs ending up as the 5th seed with the Cincinnati Royals won 3 more games and would make the playoffs before being swiftly eliminated by the Baltimore Bullets in 5 games in what was the last appearance for Oscar Robertson for this franchise as for the Bullets they would still lose to the Knicks in 7 games this time in the Conference Finals.

There are no other changes from OTL as the West playoffs still play out the same which still means that the Lakers and Knicks meet in the finals and that Willis Reed's game 7 heroics become part of NBA Folklore as the New York Knicks win their first NBA Championship with their team style of basketball which will forever put them down as the teams that played basketball the right way.

The biggest questions at the end of the season were would the Lakers finally get over the hump and where would Oscar Robertson be playing at the start of next season.

Eastern Division
WLPCTGB
x-New York Knicks6121.744
X- -Philadelphia 76ers4636.56315
x-Baltimore Bullets5329.6468
x- Cincinnati Royals4042.48221
Milwaukee Bucks3844.43923
Boston Celtics3448.41527
Detroit Pistons3151.37830





1970 NBA All Star Game rosters

West

Starters

PG Jerry West (Los Angeles Lakers)
SG Lou Hudson ( Atlanta Hawks)
SF Elgin Baylor (Los Angeles Lakers)
PF Connie Hawkins (Phoenix Suns)
C Elvin Hayes ( San Diego Rockets)

Bench

PG Lenny Wilkens ( Seattle SuperSonics)
SG Jeff Mullins ( Golden State Warriors)
SG Dick Van Arsdale (Phoenix Suns)
SF Joe Caldwell (Atlanta Hawks)
SF Chet Walker ( Chicago Bulls)
PF Bill Bridges ( Atlanta Hawks)
C Nate Thurmond (Golden State Warriors) did not play due to injury replaced by
C Bob Rule ( Seattle Supersonics)

East

Starters

PG Oscar Robertson ( Cincinnati Royals)
SG Walt Frazier ( New York Knicks)
SF John Havlicek ( Boston Celtics)
PF Billy Cunningham ( Philadelphia 76ers)
C Willis Reed ( New York Knicks) All Star Game MVP

Bench

PG Flynn Robinson ( Milwaukee Bucks)
SG Hal Greer ( Philadelphia 76ers)
SG Jimmy Walker ( Detroit Pistons)
SF Tom Van Arsdale ( Cincinnati Royals)
PF Gus Johnson ( Baltimore Bullets)
PF Dave DeBusschere ( New York Knicks)
C Wes Unseld ( Baltimore Bullets)

Western Division​

Champion: Los Angeles Lakers

Division Semi-finals


(1) Atlanta Hawks vs. (3) Chicago Bulls : Hawks win series 4-1

  • Game 1 @ Atlanta : Atlanta 129, Chicago 111
  • Game 2 @ Atlanta: Atlanta 124, Chicago 104
  • Game 3 @ Chicago: Atlanta 106, Chicago 101
  • Game 4 @ Chicago: Chicago 131, Atlanta 120
  • Game 5 @ Atlanta: Atlanta 113, Chicago 107
(2) Los Angeles Lakers vs. (4) Phoenix Suns : Lakers win series 4-3

  • Game 1 @Los Angeles: Los Angeles 128, Phoenix 112
  • Game 2 @ Los Angeles: Phoenix 129, Los Angeles 121
  • Game 3 @ Phoenix: Phoenix 112, Los Angeles 98
  • Game 4 @ Phoenix: Phoenix 112, Los Angeles 102
  • Game 5 @ Los Angeles: Los Angeles 138, Phoenix 121
  • Game 6 @ Phoenix: Los Angeles 104, Phoenix 93
  • Game 7 @ Los Angeles: Los Angeles 129, Phoenix 94

Division Finals

(1) Atlanta Hawks vs. (2) Los Angeles Lakers : Lakers win series 4-0

  • Game 1 @ Atlanta : Los Angeles 119, Atlanta 115
  • Game 2 @ Atlanta: Los Angeles 105, Atlanta 94
  • Game 3 @ Los Angeles: Los Angeles 115, Atlanta 114
  • Game 4 @ Los Angeles: Los Angeles 133, Atlanta 114

Eastern Division​

Champion: New York Knicks

Division Semi-finals


(1) New York Knicks vs. (3) Philadelphia 76ers: Knicks win series 4-0

  • Game 1 @ New York: New York 110, Philadelphia 102
  • Game 2 @ New York: New York 103, Philadelphia 98
  • Game 3 @ Philadelphia: New York 115, Philadelphia 106
  • Game 4 @ Philadelphia: New York 130, Philadelphia 96
(2) Baltimore Bullets vs. (4) Cincinnati Royals: Bullets win series 4-1

  • Game 1 @ Baltimore: Baltimore 122, Cincinnati 118
  • Game 2 @ Baltimore: Cincinnati 113, Baltimore 111
  • Game 3 @ Cincinnati: Baltimore 107, Cincinnati 99
  • Game 4 @ Cincinnati: Baltimore 128, Cincinnati 101
  • Game 5 @ Baltimore: Baltimore 127, Cincinnati 112
Eastern Division Finals

(1) New York Knicks vs. (2) Baltimore Bullets: Knicks win series 4-3

  • Game 1 @ New York: New York 120, Baltimore 117
  • Game 2 @ New York: New York 106, Baltimore 99
  • Game 3 @ Baltimore: Baltimore 127, New York 113
  • Game 4 @ Baltimore: Baltimore 102, New York 92
  • Game 5 @ New York: New York 101, Baltimore 80
  • Game 6 @ Baltimore: Baltimore 96, New York 87
  • Game 7 @ New York: New York 127, Baltimore 114

NBA Finals​

E (1) New York Knicks VS. W (2) Los Angeles Lakers: Knicks win series 4-3

  • Game 1 @ New York: New York 124, Los Angeles 112
  • Game 2 @ New York: Los Angeles 105, New York 103
  • Game 3 @ Los Angeles: New York 111, Los Angeles 108 Jerry West hit a desperation buzzer-beating 60-foot shot to tie it at 102 and force OT.
  • Game 4 @ Los Angeles: Los Angeles 121, New York 115
  • Game 5 @ New York: New York 107, Los Angeles 100
  • Game 6 @ Los Angeles: Los Angeles 135, New York 113
  • Game 7 @ New York : New York 113, Los Angeles 99 Willis Reed surprised the fans by walking onto the court during warmups, prompting widespread applause and inspiring the Knicks to win the title.
 
1970-71 ABA Season
Before the beginning the ABA had been forced to change its commissioner as George Mikan has resigned as commissioner of the ABA as the other owners wanted to move the league office to New York and Mikan wanted it to stay in Minneapolis as he had a travel agency there but the other owners won out as even though he had gotten Lew Alcindor to sign with the ABA there had been 2 teams that had failed in Minnesota in the first 3 years so it made sense for the office to be in New York Mikan was replaced as commissioner by Jack Dolph who was the head of CBS Sports which was the network broadcasting the league and the process towards a merger would be started with the NBA but would be delayed by the Oscar Robertson lawsuit against the NBA which was filed to prevent the merger from happening

Alcindor’s second season in the ABA started with the addition of the second star that the Nets needed which started because of a SI piece which focused on the Virginia Squires and their star player Rick Barry who didn't want to play in Virginia after the team had moved for the 2nd season in a row firstly from Oakland to Washington in 69-70 and from Washington to Virginia for the 70-71 season. Rick Barry wanted to leave Virginia and wasnt subtle about his intentions and as a result insulted the entire state when he said that he didn't want his son to come home and say ‘’Hi y'all’’ as Barry wanted to play in either California where he had spent the first 2 years of his career in the NBA with the then San Francisco Warriors or New York and as there was no team in California which was playing in the ABA at the time with the relocation of the Los Angeles Stars to Utah in 1970 this only left the New York Nets and with Barry’s trade demands and the threat that he would return to the NBA the Squires gave him to the Nets for only a 1st round pick and Cash which Virginia's owner Earl Foreman needed the cash and the franchise was in financial trouble for not the first or last time . The team that Barry joined in 1970 still contained Alcindor and Melchonni and had also added Billy Paultz to play power forward although he could also play center and as a result of the Barry trade the Nets were now the favourites to win the ABA title with their new coach Lou Carnesecca even with the Pacers being the defending champions as well as the Utah Stars who made the finals the previous year and had now added Zelmo Beaty who had been one of the better centers in the NBA who was seen to be the final piece of puzzle for Utah to win an ABA title.

The Nets had high expectations and this season they were fulfilled as the Nets would go 63-21 for the season which was the best record in the league and gave the Nets the 1st seed in the Eastern Division as Alcindor and Barry established themselves at the best 1-2 punch in the ABA with Barry becoming more of a perimeter player with Alcindor using the skyhook to demolish opponents and as a result of this season Alcindor would win his 1st ABA MVP with averages of 35.4 points and 17.6 rebounds.

In the Playoffs The Nets would first face the Kentucky Colonels who had Dan Issel who was named Co Rookie of the Year in the 1st round of the playoffs and beat them 4-1 which would advance them to the Eastern Division finals where they would meet the Virginia Squires who even though they had lost Barry had gone 53-31 with Charlie Scott also being named Co Rookie of the Year but that 1-2 punch was too much for the Squires with them also losing in 5 games to the Nets which would advance them to the ABA Finals where they would meet the Utah Stars who had just beaten the Indiana Pacers in a grueling 7 game series and had a good team with Zelmo Beaty and Bill Sharman as the Coach but the Nets would be too good for them in 5 games and they couldn’t stop Alcindor who won the Playoffs MVP in addition to the Regular season honour and at the end of the season he announced that he had changed his name to Kareem Abdul Jabbar who in only his 2nd season had already won his first ABA title and it didn't appear to be his last award by any sense.

Eastern Division

Eastern DivisionWLPCTGB
New York Nets *6321.735-
Virginia Squires *5331.63110.0
Kentucky Colonels *4242.50021.0
The Floridians *3549.41628.0
Pittsburgh Condors3450.41729.0
Carolina Cougars3252.38131.0

Western Division​

Western DivisionWLPCTGB
Indiana Pacers *5628.668-
Utah Stars *5628.6680.0
Memphis Pros *3648.42820.0
Texas Chaparrals *2658.29930.0
Denver Rockets *2658.29930.0


1971 ABA All Star Game Rosters

West

Starters

PG Jimmy Jones (Memphis Pros)
SG Donnie Freeman (Texas Chaparrals)
SF Roger Brown (Indiana Pacers)
PF Zelmo Beaty (Utah Stars)
C Mel Daniels (Indiana Pacers)

Bench

SG Ron Boone (Utah Stars)
SG Steve Jones (Memphis Pros)
SG Glen Combs (Utah Stars)
SF Wendell Ladner (Memphis Pros)
PF Bob Netolicky (Indiana Pacers)
PF Red Robbins (Utah Stars)
C Julius Keye (Denver Rockets)


East

Starters

PG Bill Melchionni ( New York Nets)
SG Joe Caldwell ( Carolina Cougars)
SF John Brisker ( Pittsburgh Condors)
PF Dan Issel ( Kentucky Colonels)
C Kareem Abdul Jabbar ( New York Nets)

Bench

PG Charlie Scott ( Virginia Squires)
PG Mack Calvin ( The Flordians)
SG Larry Jones ( Pittsburgh Condors)
SF Rick Barry ( New York Nets)
SF Cincinnatus Powell ( Kentucky Colonels)
PF Neil Johnson ( Virginia Squires)
C Mike Lewis ( Pittsburgh Condors)

Western Division​

Champion: Utah Stars

Division Semifinals


(1) Indiana Pacers vs. (3) Memphis Pros: Pacers win series 4-0

  • Game 1 @ Indiana: Indiana 114, Memphis 98
  • Game 2 @ Indiana: Indiana 106, Memphis 104
  • Game 3 @ Memphis: Indiana 91, Memphis 90
  • Game 4 @ Memphis: Indiana 102, Memphis 101
(2) Utah Stars vs. (4) Texas Chaparrals: Stars win series 4-0

  • Game 1 @ Utah: Utah 125, Texas 115
  • Game 2 @ Utah: Utah 137, Texas 107
  • Game 3 @ Texas: Utah 113, Texas 101
  • Game 4 @ Texas: Utah 128, Texas 107
Division Finals

(1) Indiana Pacers vs. (2) Utah Stars: Stars win series 4-3

  • Game 1 @ Indiana: Utah 120, Indiana 118
  • Game 2 @ Indiana: Indiana 120, Utah 107
  • Game 3 @ Utah: Utah 121, Indiana 108
  • Game 4 @ Utah: Utah 126, Indiana 99
  • Game 5 @ Indiana: Indiana 127, Utah 109
  • Game 6 @ Utah: Indiana 105, Utah 102
  • Game 7 @ Indiana: Utah 108, Indiana 101

Eastern Division​

Champion: New York Nets

Division Semifinals

(1) New York Nets vs. (3) Kentucky Colonels: Nets win series 4-1

  • Game 1 @ New York: New York 113, Kentucky 105
  • Game 2 @ New York: New York 114, Kentucky 108
  • Game 3 @ Kentucky: New York 135, Kentucky 131
  • Game 4 @ Kentucky: Kentucky 130, New York 127
  • Game 5 @ New York: New York 127, Kentucky 124
(2) Virginia Squires vs. (4) The Floridians: Squires win series 4-2

  • Game 1 @ Virginia: Virginia 116, Florida 112
  • Game 2 @ Virginia: Virginia 120, Florida 110
  • Game 3 @ Florida: Florida 120, Virginia 102
  • Game 4 @ Florida: Florida 129, Virginia 117
  • Game 5 @ Virginia: Virginia 118, Florida 101
  • Game 6 @ Florida: Virginia 112, Florida 103
Division Finals

(1) New York Nets vs. (2) Virginia Squires: Nets win series 4-1

  • Game 1 @ New York: New York 136, Virginia 132
  • Game 2 @ New York: New York 142, Virginia 122
  • Game 3 @ Virginia: Virginia 150, New York 137
  • Game 4 @ Virginia: New York 128, Virginia 110
  • Game 5 @ New York: New York 117, Virginia 105

ABA Finals​

(1) New York Nets VS. (2) Utah Stars : Nets win series 4-1

  • Game 1 @ New York: New York 136, Utah 117
  • Game 2 @ New York: New York 138, Utah 125
  • Game 3 @ Utah: Utah 116, New York 110
  • Game 4 @ Utah: New York 129, Utah 125
  • Game 5 @ New York: New York 137, Utah 127

 
Top