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Pacer Tribute via Stephen Beard, IndyStar

Pacer Tribute via Stephen Beard, IndyStar

The “Muncie Mortar”, the “Blonde Bomber”, “Commissioner”. Ron Bonham went by many titles. He was a Hoosier through and through, and an exemplary role model on and off the court.

In his basketball career, Bonham was inducted into both the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame and the University of Cincinnati Basketball Hall of Fame (with two NCAA championships), he won championships with the NBA’s Boston Celtics, and was an original first year Indiana Pacer in the American Basketball Association.

Off the court, he served as a public figure in Delaware County, IN for almost 40 years, including several years as County Commissioner.  Bonham was so beloved, the county commissioned a “Ron Bonham Day” when he retired.

To celebrate Bonham’s life accomplishments after his passing, the Indiana Pacers held a moment of silence and a special tribute during their 2016 NBA Playoff run.  We are sad to see his passing and our thoughts are with his family.

Read more about Ron Bonham from around the web:


McGinnis1HanderSimonMountIBJ – Mickey Maurer

Last month Indianapolis Star reporter Nate Taylor made a case for election of George McGinnis to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. The assertion was based on statistics—an excellent body of work achieved by a deserving candidate. Nonetheless, the efforts to elect McGinnis have failed each year since his eligibility in 1988, and time is running short. Perhaps the voters should know more. Who is George McGinnis?

Read more here.



Sports Collector’s Digest

For most basketball fans of a certain age, any discussion of the American Basketball Association (ABA) conjures thoughts of that trademark red, white and blue basketball, the three-point shot and a flashier up-tempo style of play.

Picture1-1024x682However, the ABA lasted just nine full seasons, from 1967-76. Four teams from the league (the N.Y. Nets, Denver Nuggets, San Antonio Spurs and Indiana Pacers) were absorbed by the NBA, while the rest of the teams ceased operations.

ABA players not affiliated with the Nets, Nuggets, Spurs or Pacers were chosen from a draft pool by other NBA teams. While ABA talent could hardly be considered inferior to NBA talent, several ABA players, for various reasons, never played in the NBA or did not play in the NBA long enough to be eligible for pension benefits. Since the ABA itself did not maintain a pension plan, many of its players have therefore experienced significant economical hardships in their lives after basketball. Enter Dr. John Abrams, Scott Tarter and the Dropping Dimes Foundation.

Read more here.


San Antonio Express News

The year was 1973. San Antonio, Lang’s hometown, had a chance to vault itself onto the national pro sports landscape via entry into the American Basketball Association. But for the landmark event to occur, business titan B.J. “Red” McCombs and stockbroker Angelo Drossos needed investors to help them relocate the struggling Dallas Chaparrals to the Alamo City and HemisFair Arena… Drossos began by appealing to Lang’s civic pride, saying the presence of an ABA team would raise the city’s profile and help attract Fortune 500 companies. Lang listened intently, partly because of his love for basketball but also because he enjoyed hearing Drossos talk.

Read more here.


This Veterans Day, the Dropping Dimes Foundation would like to thank all the service men and women who have kept, and who continue to keep, our country the shining symbol of hope it has symbolized since its founding. Without the sacrifices of these men and women and their families, we would not be able to have the freedoms we enjoy every day. [su_spacer size=”15″]

In basketball, as in most sports, we often use superfluous adjectives and give larger-than-life descriptions for the players and coaches who catch our attention and ignite our wonderment at their athleticism and skill. The famous Dick Vitale made a living off of coining phrases like “Diaper Dandies.” The American Basketball Association consisted of legends like “Dr. J” and “The A-Train.” Meanwhile, recently passed and long-time UNLV coach Jerry Tarkanian was dubbed “Tark the Shark.” Today we argue over the winner of an imaginary game of 21 between “Air Jordan”, the “Black Mamba”, and “King James”.  Throughout it all we have always looked up to and admired the “heroes” of the game. [su_spacer size=”15″]

American service men and women are true heroes who often do not earn the fandom or receive the larger-than-life descriptions. Yet they put everything on the line for us. In conjunction with our heartfelt thanks this Veterans Day, we would like to share several American Basketball Association stories from the league’s ties to the military:[su_spacer size=”15″]

  • Leslie A. Powell: A dominating player out of California, Powell was a shining star out of the Santa Fe High School Class of 1963. He was rumored to potentially be so great that he could play pro ball straight out of high school. He was recruited by coaches and scouts everywhere, but instead enlisted to help fight in Vietnam. Instead of the pro basketball record books, Powell’s name can now be found on the Vietnam War Memorial in Washington, DC. In 1969 he was killed by enemy gunfire while sacrificing himself to save 8 fellow soldiers.
  • Mel Daniels: As part of an American Basketball Association trip which brought league stars to Vietnam to visit wounded troops, Daniels had a “frightening experience” he explained to local newspapers. “I never saw anything like it and I never will forget it…I saw a South Vietnam solder who had stepped on a mine and had his leg blown off. I saw a woman who had been badly shot…Another guy had two fingers shot off.” While Daniels did not see combat, the horrors of war were not lost on him.
  • Champ Summers: More known for his baseball achievements, Summers was a paratrooper in Vietnam for a year before finding his way back home. He experienced a small stint in the American Basketball Association with the Memphis Tams but eventually he turned over to baseball. For good reason too, as he would become an MLB star.
  • Robert “Bill” Daniels: A WWII fighter-pilot, Daniels served on both the North African and Pacific fronts. After the war he successfully went into the cable television world, and later served as President of the American Basketball Association. He also went on to own or share ownership in several successful professional sports teams.
  • Willie Harris: An Air Force basketball standout, Harris served state side during the Vietnam era – much like David Robinson a few decades later. Harris then went on to play in both the NBA and the ABA, including the Denver Nuggets and the Kentucky Colonels. After knee problems he was forced to retire from the professional game, and became a professional stunt-man in Hollywood.[su_spacer size=”15″]

If you have any American Basketball Association stories you would like to share, email us at [email protected].


Indy Star

635822518194428944-MelDaniels-1-1-In the days following Mel Daniels’ death, friends and former opponents have echoed this same truth. Daniels was a strong man. Strong enough to have had a 48-year dunking shelf life – first rising and slamming as a teenager in Detroit then throwing one down as a 61-year-old man with an AARP card, because he wanted to show he still had it.

Read more here.

McGinnis1HanderSimonMountMark Montieth &

Four former Pacers remain on the list of players eligible for direct selection from the ABA to the Hall of Fame, bypassing the standard nominating process. One in particular stands out. George McGinnis was as good as any player in the game during his peak period in the mid-Seventies, ABA or NBA.

McGinnis was co-Most Valuable Player of the ABA with Julius Erving in the 1974-75 season, when he averaged 29.8 points, 14.3 rebounds, 6.3 assists and 2.6 steals. He led the Pacers to a surprising journey to the ABA finals that season, averaging 32.3 points, 15.9 rebounds, 8.2 assists, two steals and 6.2 turnovers in the playoffs.

Read more here.

Washington Post

Moses Malone, a three-time NBA MVP and Hall of Fame player who was one of the most dominant centers of his era, has died at the age of 60. Malone became one of the first high school players to turn pro, choosing to sign with the Utah Stars of the ABA rather than attend the University of Maryland after he graduated from Petersburg, Va., High School. After the ABA and NBA merged, Malone went on to play for the Houston Rockets, Philadelphia 76ers, Washington Bullets, Atlanta Hawks, Milwaukee Bucks and San Antonio Spurs.

Read more here.

635595493685115393-AP7404130101Indy Star

Dampier may be the only man to ever play the game of basketball who, deep down within his soul, secretly hoped he would never get into the Naismith Memorial Hall of Fame.

Read more here.

Wes_Unseld_and_Kareem_Abdul-Jabbar_0_0SB Nation

Tim Ziller has defended the ’70s before, notably in Free Darko Presents: The Undisputed Guide to Pro Basketball History. [His] argument was that it was a time of testing new limits, of parity and of transition. The glory of the ’80s was only possible because of the work done by Dr. J, Skywalker, The Ice Man, Kareem and the Rolls-Royce backcourt in the ’70s. Here’s another argument: the ’70s represented a battle for the soul of basketball.

Read more here.