Denver Nuggets

Semi-Pro makes everyone nostalgic for the ABA

With the release of Will Ferrell’s new comedy Semi-Pro, everyone seems to be getting into the old ABA spirit. The short shorts, the red, white and blue ball, and the afros: it was a tremendous period in the history of modern basketball. There was passion like never before and a flair for showmanship that can probably never be equaled again. Oh, and according to the guys who lived it, it was also an extremely poor period for the players as well.

We weren’t sure the paychecks were going to make it every two weeks,” said [George] Karl. “It was always interesting on payday how many guys didn’t stay after practice. Everybody was in their car and running to the bank making sure their check made it through.”

[Doug] Moe said he never had any problems with his paychecks, but he knew other teams were having financial problems, especially that final year (1976).

“There was one part of the year where I think Virginia had run out of money and the Squires were about to fold,” Moe said. “They came out here and we must have played them 10 times. They just stayed out here.

Of course, there were some fun memories too.

Karl also recalled some bad behavior on the court. “I think probably my most memorable moment was when I took five charges on George McGinness in one game and the last time he tried to step on my head … and he told me he was going to do it.”

“There was a lot of trash talking going on then,” Karl said. “I remember my last year in the ABA. There was a fight and I was the guy who started the fight. I didn’t get thrown out of the game. I got fined $1,500, which I never paid because the ABA would fold and they would have to take it out of my next check, which they never did.

Ah, where have all the good times gone?


[]: Movie Stirs Happy Memories For Denver’s ABA `Pros’

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