EPISODE 129: ABA Basketball's Origin Story – With Founder Dennis Murphy

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. 

Check out Warby Parker – whose exclusive Home Try-On program is the free, no obligation way to select high-quality eyeglass frames in the convenience of your own home!  Go to warbyparker.com/GOODSEATS to take the simple quiz and find the perfect pair(s) for you!

     

Loose Balls: The Short, Wild Life of the American Basketball Association - buy here

Murph: The Sports Entrepreneur Man and His Leagues - buy here

 

Game Changer: The Dennis Murphy Story - watch here

EPISODE #116: A Thinking Man’s Guide to Defunct Leagues – With Stephen Provost

This week, we offer a refresher course in the history of forgotten pro sports leagues with veteran newspaper editor, current long-form author and fellow defunct sports enthusiast Stephen Provost – whose recent book A Whole Different League is an essential primer for anyone seeking an entrée into the genre.

Provost serves up a smorgasbord of highlights gleaned from his personal memories of and research into the various nooks and crannies of what “used-to-be” in professional team sports, including:

  • The curiosity of 9,000 Los Angeles Aztecs NASL soccer fans in a cavernous 100,000-seat Rose Bowl;

  • The oft-forgotten Continental Football League of the late 1960s, operating in the shadows of the mighty NFL and colorful AFL;

  • The enigmatic one-season wonder of the 1961-62 National Bowling League;

  • Jackie Robinson’s almost pro football career;

  • Federal League all-star Benny Kauff and the major league baseball career-ending auto theft he didn’t commit; AND

  • The legend of the World Football League’s Jim “King” Corcoran – the “poor man’s Joe Namath.”

PLUS: we revisit the story of women’s pro basketball pioneer (and “Good Seats” episode #28 guest) “Machine Gun” Molly Bolin (Kazmer), the subject of Provost’s new biography, The Legend of Molly Bolin: Women's Pro Basketball Trailblazer.

Indulge all of your defunct league memories at SportsHistoryCollectibles.com, 503 Sports, OldSchoolShirts.com, and Streaker Sports!

      

A Whole Different League - buy here

The Legend of Molly Bolin: Women’s Pro Basketball Trailblazer - buy here