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Harwood Paroxysm Podcast with Bob Netolicky & Ted Green

Over&Back NBA – Jason Mann

The life of an ABA player is discussed in the third episode of the Over and Back Classic NBA podcast’s summer series — Basketball Mysteries of the 1970s. Jason Mann is joined by Indiana Pacers great Bob Netolicky, who played all 9 seasons in the ABA, and Ted Green, who has produced documentaries on Pacers legend Roger Brown and coach Slick Leonard.

Listen Here:

Discussion topics include: How the ABA forced innovations into the pro basketball world, including bigger salaries and a wide-open style of play; on- and off-court highlights of the Pacers from 1969 through 1975, where they won three ABA championships and appeared in five Finals; the excellence of Roger Brown and how he’s been forgotten among the great small forwards of all-time; tales from Netolicky’s club in Indianapolis, including sneaking in an underaged Spencer Haywood and giving visiting players free beer the night before games; Slick Leonard’s legendary motivational tactics, including nearly attacking Neto with a hockey stock; how it felt to win a championship in 1970 after blowing it in 1969; why Netolicky was never tempted by the NBA; whether the ABA ever felt stable; and how the former ABA players have forged a deep brotherhood all these years later.

Netolicky and Green are both part of the Dropping Dimes Foundation, which helps former ABA players who are dealing with financial distress.

Donate to Dropping Dimes Foundation TODAY.

Visit Hardwood Paroxysm’s Over&Back NBA Podcast HERE.

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SLAM Magazine: ABA Players Get Back on Their Feet

SLAM Magazine – Anel Ganic

The ABA, American Basketball Association, was renowned for its flashy play that was a favorite amongst basketball fans back in the league’s heyday. The rival to the NBA featured legends like Julius “Dr. J” Erving, Dan “The Horse” Issel, Rick “The Miami Greyhound” Barry, all of whom are in the Hall of Fame. In short, the ABA was basketball entertainment at its finest during the nine years it was around.

In ’76, the ABA merged with the NBA, but only the four most successful franchises were welcomed into the Association. Those four franchises were the Denver Nuggets, Indiana Pacers, New York (now Brooklyn) Nets and the San Antonio Spurs. While some players found success in the NBA, the merger left plenty of ABA guys high and dry. These ballers didn’t have any pension benefits and fell into difficult financial situations.

This is where the Dropping Dimes Foundation comes in.

This not-for-profit Foundation was founded by Scott Tarter and Dr. John Abrams in an effort to lend a hand to many of these old-school ballers.

A few years ago Tarter was working with documentary film producer Ted Green when he met Abrams, who is a local doctor in Indianapolis and the Pacers’ eye doctor. While both of them were supporting Green, they found out that they had a mutual love for the ABA. They ended up working with a lot of their ABA heroes who would always talk about a lot of lesser-known players who needed help. After doing research, Tarter and Abrams found out that there aren’t any programs that help with getting ABA players back on their feet. Noticing that there is a void, the two linked up and started the Dropping Dimes Foundation.

“These guys were being contracted in a range of $12,000-$50,000 a year,” says Tarter. “There were no established or viable healthcare or pension plans. They were at a huge disadvantage.”

One of the great aspects of Dropping Dimes, besides the work they do to assist old ABA players, is that its advisory board is filled with ABA and NBA legends. The advisory board consists of ex-players like Bobby Leonard, Issel, George McGinnis, Reggie Miller and ancillary members of the basketball community, such as renowned sportscaster Bob Costas. All these guys go above and beyond to volunteer with the foundation.

“I got a call from the guys who started the foundation. It was trying to find a way to help some of those guys who played in the old ABA,” says McGinnis. “[Scott] talked to myself, Bob Leonard, Mel Daniels, Darnell Hillman, Billy Keller, and a few other people. We all got on board with it and that’s kind of how it all started.”

Dropping Dimes doesn’t just help out these ABA players financially, they do much more. For example, Ron Thomas who played for the Kentucky Colonels during the ’70s lives in a nursing home and Tarter and some of the advisory board members paid him a visit. They gave him shoes and clothing. Another gift they gave him was a blown up Topps basketball card. Tarter says they do that for every player and if the player doesn’t have a card, they make one for them. After that, they just hung out with him and Thomas was loving it.

“There are a lot of ABA players that didn’t make a lot of money,” adds Issel. “Some of those former players need some help right now. I have very fond memories of me in my ABA days. It was a fun league and we had a lot of exceptional talent. My ABA days hold a special place for me.”

Tarter’s hopes to help as many ABA players as he can so that in a few years this Foundation won’t be necessary.

“We’ve got some guys here who are great people. There’s just a lot of people involved,”Leonard said. “When you can help somebody else, especially guys that you knew and coached against. You want to do that.”

 

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Dr. Dunk and DDF join Super 70’s Sports

American Basketball Association All-Star Darnell Hillman and Dropping Dimes Foundation President Scott Tarter sat down with Ricky Cobb for The Super 70’s Sports podcast.

Throughout the conversation they move from the story that Hillman – also known as Dr. Dunk – could grab money off the backboard, to his ABA championships with the Indiana Pacers. The three also discuss the many important activities that the Foundation is involved in and the former players Dropping Dimes is helping.

Listen to the full podcast HERE

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Dropping Dimes Helps Connect Willie Long with Settlement

Via IndyStar, Dana Benbow

Less than a month ago, Long woke up with a knee hurting so badly he couldn’t make it to his job as a substitute teacher. And even if he had been able to, it was unlikely his 21-year-old Honda would start.

Long has no money to replace that car — or his knee.

Like many other ABA players who were not part of the league’s merger with the NBA or who didn’t play long enough in the NBA, Long never received the pension benefits he had earned. Many of those players have scraped by for decades. Many have health issues — big men who were tough on their bodies, bodies that now are breaking down.

“There are some ABA players living under bridges in New Orleans,” said the late Pacers player Mel Daniels in a 2015 IndyStar article. “They don’t have anything.”

Long played just three years in the ABA, for the Floridians and the Denver Rockets. In 213 games, he averaged 11.4 points and 6.0 rebounds per game.

Like many other ABA players who were not part of the league’s merger with the NBA or who didn’t play long enough in the NBA, Long never received the pension benefits he had earned. Many of those players have scraped by for decades. Many have health issues — big men who were tough on their bodies, bodies that now are breaking down.

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via IndyStar

“There are some ABA players living under bridges in New Orleans,” said the late Pacers player Mel Daniels in a 2015 IndyStar article. “They don’t have anything.”

Long played just three years in the ABA, for the Floridians and the Denver Rockets. In 213 games, he averaged 11.4 points and 6.0 rebounds per game.

Over the years, he had jobs as a regional manager for Taco Bell, Avon and Jiffy Lube. But after he retired several years ago, his Social Security wasn’t covering everyday life.

Long took up substitute teaching and refereeing high school volleyball to supplement Social Security. But soon, without a working car, and with a bad knee, he couldn’t make it to those jobs.

Things were looking pretty bad.

Then, a letter came from Indianapolis-based Dropping Dimes Foundation, a non-profit whose mission is to help struggling former ABA players and their families. Long was one of 350 playersthe organization sent letters to asking if they needed help.

Long didn’t really want to ask anyone for help. But things were tough enough that he decided to put aside his pride and respond.

His application for assistance, a hand-written letter about his struggles, landed on the desk of Scott Tarter, co-founder of Dropping Dimes, about two weeks ago.

The timing stunned Tarter. Just days before, he had received another request – from the people with the NBA committee that doles out owed pension money to former players.

A class action lawsuit filed on behalf of former ABA players against the NBA for pension money owed was settled in 2014. It affected more than 200 players. Long was one of them, and the NBA committee wanted to find him.

Tarter had Long’s address and gladly passed it along.

“It was one of those moments,” said Tarter.

When Tarter picked up the phone and called Long to respond to his request to Dropping Dimes, Long had already been contacted by the pension committee.

“He was in tears,” Tarter said. “He had a difficult time talking to me. He said this was going to change his life.”

Neither Tarter, nor Long, want to reveal the amount of money Long is receiving.

“Let’s just say this is a life-changing scenario for him,” Tarter said.

But it’s no gift. This is money Long earned.

Shortly after Long was alerted to the money owed him, a former Kentucky Colonels player, 63-year-old Bird Averitt, learned from a Dropping Dimes advisory board member that he is owed back pension as well.

Find Out how you can help make the ultimate assist today HERE.

-Read more about Willie Long-

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Special Thanks to the Ketner Family

The assistance the Dropping Dimes Foundation is able to provide to former American Basketball Association players and personnel is made possible by the generous donations of our supporters.  We would like to take a moment to acknowledge a recent special show of support from Ms. Aquarius Ketner, wife of former NBA Pacer Lari Ketner. 

Lari’s hard-fought battle with cancer ended with his passing at the age of 37 in October of 2014. The 6’10” UMass graduate was drafted in 1999 by the Chicago Bulls. After the Bulls, Ketner went on to play for the Cleveland Cavaliers and then the Indiana Pacers.

After learning about the Dropping Dimes Foundation, Aquarius was gracious enough to provide us with a donation of Lari’s shoes and suits, all in fantastic condition and ready to serve some former players in need very well. Clothing for former professional basketball players is hard to come by, and her donation helps to fill a void when it comes to much needed extra-large sized clothing and shoes. 

This contribution from Aquarius will be used to assist former players in need and will represent a lasting legacy of kindness from she and Lari. Thank you.

Learn how you can donate today HERE.

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Dropping Dimes & Bob Netolicky Discuss the ABA with “The Handle”

Four-time ABA All-Star, Indiana Pacers legend, and Dropping Dimes Foundation Advisory Board Member Bob Netolicky and Foundation President Scott Tarter joined SB Nation Reinis Lacis’s podcast The Handle.

Netolicky and Tarter share numerous stories on the ABA. Bob and Scott both reminisced about the glory days of the league and the Pacers, as well as explained the purpose of Dropping Dimes and the unfortunate financial situation several ABA players find themselves in nowadays.

Listen now:


Topics discussed in the podcast:

02:20 – Scott’s connection with basketball, him rooting for the Indiana Pacers in the ABA days, Darnell Hillman being the favorite Pacer of his;
05:55 – The chemistry of those Indiana Pacers teams, the impact of the Mel Daniels trade and coach Slick Leonard‘s influence on the team;
10:45 – Roger Brown being the best player with whom Bob has played, how Brown was unsure about jumping to the ABA, the finances of that time;
15:25 – A rare radio broadcast of Game 5 of the 1972 ABA Finals between the Pacers and the New York Nets, a clutch three by Bill Keller and a Freddie Lewis steal on Rick Barry;
19:20 – “We Changed the Game” – a book soon to be released on the ABA, which will contain nuggets previously unavailable to the public;
25:10 – ABA vs. NBA, the fierce battles and the animosity being primarily created by front office people;
29:55 – A Mel Daniels vs. Flynn Robinson fight which was halted by San Diego Conquistadors coach Wilt Chamberlain picking Daniels up;
31:45 – The opening game at Market Square Arena, a win against the Milwaukee Bucks in which Bob faced up against Kareem Abdul-Jabbar in front of an ABA record crowd;
35:55 – The story behind the Dropping Dimes Foundation, how it supports former ABA players who aren’t doing well financially, the support Mel Daniels and Bob Netolicky offered, the Roger Brown documentary “Undefeated”;
42:35 – The bad conditions in which several former ABA players find themselves in, the lack of a pension plan for which Bob is fighting;
45:55 – Future goals of Dropping Dimes and information about donating to the foundation;
49:00 – The upcoming 50th anniversary of the ABA, additional information on the book;
53:05 – Scott meeting the members of the board, having to tell Willie Wise, Louie Dampier and Dan Issel that once upon a time he rooted against them.

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Dropping Dimes & Lawrence, IN Police Put Best Foot Forward

via Dana Benbow, IndyStar
homeless new shoes new format

via Lawrence, IN Police Department

The homeless man in Lawrence who lost his house in a fire, fell on hard times, then was surprised with a pair of size 17 sneakers to replace his tattered ones.  After seeing his worn out shoes, the [police] officers went on a search for new ones…

To put it in perspective, the average man wears size 10.5. The average NBA player’s foot is a size 14.81. The largest shoe sizes on the Pacers roster are an 18, worn by Myles Turner, and 16, worn by Ian Mahinmi and Lavoy Allen.

Walking into a Wal-Mart or Goodwill, or even an upscale athletic shoe store and finding a size 17 just doesn’t happen. Most don’t carry those in stock. The shoes have to be special ordered and they are pricey.

INI_shoeSizeCompare_online

via IndyStar

“Finding big shoes, comfortable shoes, athletic shoes that can be worn every day for these men, it’s tough,” said Scott Tarter, president and co-founder of Dropping Dimes Foundation, which helps former ABA players who have fallen on hard times. “That’s one of the biggest challenges we’ve faced.”

After the story [first] appeared in IndyStar… Dropping Dimes Foundation — which helps former ABA players who have fallen on tough financial times — donated a pair of shoes.

Read full story HERE.

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Reggie Miller Joins Dropping Dimes Foundation

Reggie Miller always looked up to his Uncle Mel. Now he’s stepping up for him.

Miller, the Indiana Pacers’ career scoring leader, has joined the Advisory Board of the Dropping Dimes Foundation, filling the position formerly held by his fellow Naismith Hall of Famer and Pacers legend Mel Daniels, who passed away in October of 2015.

reggie and melThe Indianapolis-based Dropping Dimes Foundation assists former players and family members of the American Basketball Association who have fallen on hard times. Other members of the Advisory Board are Bob Costas, Bob and Nancy Leonard, George Gervin, Dan Issel, Louie Dampier, Spencer Haywood, George McGinnis, Bob Netolicky, Mack Calvin, Brian Taylor and Peter Vecsey.

Miller was befriended by “Uncle Mel and Uncle Roger (Brown)” and other ABA Pacers when he was drafted by the team in 1987. He said he wanted to honor his late friends and the league that helped change basketball but whose players received relatively small salaries and have been largely forgotten.

“Mel Daniels knew how essential it was to help those who came before us, especially when they were in need,” said Miller, the first member of the Advisory Board to have spent his entire career in the NBA. “Our generation has been given opportunities as the result of battles fought by these players and we can never forget their importance. I am honored to help continue Uncle Mel’s mission.”

“We’re so honored to have Reggie on our Advisory Board,” said Scott Tarter, president and co-founder of the charity. “What a perfect fit to fill the position left by the great Mel Daniels, who was our greatest inspiration here at the Dropping Dimes Foundation.”

Miller, a five-time NBA All-Star and Olympic gold medalist, will assume what’s now called the Mel Daniels Memorial Advisory Board Position.

In February, Dropping Dimes made its first foray out of the state, traveling to Louisville to help former Kentucky Colonel Ron Thomas. Pacers legends Netolicky and Darnell Hillman joined former Colonels Issel, Dampier, Joe Hamilton and Bird Averitt in providing Thomas with new clothes, ABA memorabilia and an afternoon of memories and good cheer.

Dropping Dimes also recently fulfilled former Pacer Charlie Jordan’s wish for a new suit so he could attend church, and also provided him with a new walker, more “big and tall” clothing and ABA memorabilia. Daniels and Netolicky helped him pick out the suit.

Make a contribution today!

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Sports Collector Digest Showcases Dropping Dimes Foundation

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.


 

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Celebrating the ABA After 48 Years

aba-photo48 years ago tonight, the American Basketball Association tipped off into full gear. Over its nine year span the league saw some of basketball’s greatest players to ever step onto the hardwood. While the league was full of Hall of Famers, however, some of the greatest acts came from what so many of the ABA family did and continues to do off the court.

In line with the Dropping Dime Foundation’s mission to serve former American Basketball Association players who have become disadvantaged, we would like to reflect on all the excitement and amazing achievements with the players, coaches, and personalities we have been able to work with to date.