The American Basketball Association was not founder Dennis Murphy’s original intent.
Thwarted in his attempt to get the fast-growing city of Anaheim, CA (he was mayor of nearby Buena Park) into the fledgling American Football League during the mid-1960s, Murphy quickly pivoted his attention to basketball – reasoning that with only 12 teams in the staid, yet long-established National Basketball Association, there surely must have been room for more.
“What the hell,” Murphy told author Terry Pluto in his seminal 1990 oral history Loose Balls. “The AFL had worked, hadn't it? Maybe we could force a merger with the NBA."
By the end of the ABA’s ninth season in 1976, Murphy’s unwitting prescience had become reality – and along with it, a validating blueprint for how to modernize professional sports in North America.
The legendarily inveterate sports entrepreneur (Murph: The Sports Entrepreneur Man and His Leagues) joins the podcast to discuss how the iconically idiosyncratic ABA got started, as well as hints of how other future pursuits – like the World Hockey Association, World Team Tennis, the World Football League, and Roller Hockey International – would similarly come to be.
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