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The Embarrassment that is the ABA


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'New' ABA gets dissed and dismissed

Al Hamnik/Times Columnist

Online Article

There's a stink emanating from the American Basketball Association, a lack of credibility as comical as it is disturbing.

Franchises reportedly are being sold for $15,000 to $20,000 -- even lower. Teams fold at an alarming rate, many in their inaugural season and some actually ceasing operations during halftime of the game.

Owners, investors and sponsors are threatening legal action.

The Hammond Rollers are fresh from the ABA womb and already-frustrated owner Denise Pulphus is angry with the league and Commissioner Joe Newman. You certainly can't blame her with three of their first five games either canceled or rescheduled and the remaining schedule in a state of flux.

Fans aren't stupid. They will write off the Rollers quick as a hiccup if another "No Game Tonight" sign appears on the front door of the Hammond Civic Center. Sadly, the team has lost all credibility with most local media who view the "new" ABA and the Rollers as a joke.

Ed Krinsky has sympathy for the Hammond entry, but he's not surprised. Mention "ABA" and he automatically holds his nose. The former general manager of the Long Island Express signed a three-year contract in 2000, hired ex-NBA player Truck Robinson as his coach, then watched the franchise fold before its first game.

"Forty percent of the ABA games scheduled the last two years have not been played," said Krinsky, now operations director for the USBL. "The ABA has tarnished all of minor league basketball. It's recreation. It's not professional basketball.

"I'm waiting for them to announce a new Mideast Division with teams in Baghdad, Damascus, Tehran -- and they're gonna travel by magic carpet."

NBA, CBA, USBL and Developmental League coaches and officials have been openly critical of Newman's operation. Remember, this is NOT your father's ABA that gave us Julius Erving, Moses Malone, Rick Barry and Artis Gilmore.

"Most of the people they sell these teams to now don't know if a basketball is blown up or stuffed," Krinsky said of an ownership base that, in many cases, hasn't a clue.

The web site features teams in Tijuana, Beijing, Quebec, Montreal and New Mexico. But schedules and rosters are incomplete, or unavailable. There are no "news" items.

Another concern is that once a team folds, that area is left with a "scorched earth" image and no other league finds it attractive for obvious reasons. I'm waiting for Newman to call back and argue that point.

Krinsky was asked to join a class action suit being planned against the ABA, but said he declined because he had sued when the Long Island Express went under and was eventually awarded $36,000 -- claiming the distinction of having made the most money of any ABA employee in the history of the new league.

He's just happy to have escaped with the shirt on his back.

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QUOTE(NJTank @ Sunday, November 26th, 2006 - 20:57:30) quotecThis league is an utter joke it should foldQuoteEndQuoteEEndThe league is a joke, they're trying to be like the old ABA and this ABA will never ever ever ever be like the old league.

Well definately not with 60teams before each season and only 10 or so making it past round 1, and only 2 that makes it the end of the seasons

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If it wanted to be the old ABA it would limit the amount of teams and not have expansion once a week, and have real names real logos and play in real arenas not a Junior College Gym, where nobody even knows you exist.

I work across the street from where the Newark Express play and nobody knows they exist. There is no sign they exist.

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some actually ceasing operations during halftime of the game.

Did that actually happen? I would have loved to have heard the PA announcement on that one.

"Ladies and Gentlemen, you attention please. The remainder of the game has been cancellede due to lack of interest. Thank you for coming and drive safely on your way home."

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Death knells, perhaps. Never heard of death knolls.

I guess the grassy knoll in Dallas was a death knoll.

EDIT:

Death knells, perhaps. Never heard of death knolls.

I knew of one in Dallas. It was a bit...grassy.

Oh damn it all to hell.

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I can tell you firsthand the Razorsharks (Rochester) have not only been successful on the court but also have a strong following of fans. The teams in the NE seem to be stable.

The league needs to limit the number of teams and all should be right with the league.

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