VERO BEACH, FL – This past week, Grote2DMax griped about the worst sports uniforms and Angry Ward continued his vacation in God’s Waiting Room, sometimes referred to as The Sunshine State. Connecting the two dots, I was reminded of the American Basketball Association and the league’s imagination in establishing team logos and names. What does Angry Ward have to do with the ABA? Check out the the Miami Floridians logo to the left. It eerily has our man’s likeness – a shortish and bald some what orange-headed (irate?) dude with shades, dribbling a basketball over the state’s outline. See? It’s a layup.
Anyway, I was introduced to pro hoops by this “other” league and even owned an outdoor replica of the signature red, white, and blue ball – courtesy of a 1975 birthday wish. A cartoon miner holding a pick-axe and the ABA basketball as his face reads, “Eureka!” became fool’s gold, producing a Denver Nuggets fan. David Thompson had me hooked as rival to Dr. J & The Iceman… no, not Val Kilmer in Top Gun… George Gervin.
Then there was the blatant Pink Panther rip-off by the Carolina Cougars organization and how they got beyond copyright and trademark infringements is puzzling. Hanna-Barbera or whoever owned the character didn’t pay attention to the ABA, much like the masses that only missed the rogue league after it was gone. Maybe Tikk is out there knee-deep in NY Rangers victories to lend his legal expertise. Just picture that crazy cat outlined in green holding a nondescript sphere… it can be a bowling ball fer cripe’s sake!
If any of you are familiar with ventriloquist/comedian Jeff Dunham’s puppet, Achmed The Dead Terrorist, you can see his likeness in the San Diego Conquistador’s logo. With Castilian lettering, a Spanish, Achmed-looking warrior is bedecked in full fighting regalia and weaponry of his time. Where the basketball comes in is beyond me. Thoughts of The Last Boy Scout’s opening scene (click this to watch) come to mind. Fast forward to today and the only thing drawing the ire of our Latin friends more than a border wall along Baja, California is??? This misrepresentation of Latinos as violent marauders.
Finally, the stalwart St. Louis Spirits… The team’s brain trust chose homage to Charles Lindbergh’s flying machine and in its logo with a crop-duster writing the team name in script. In a town where Budweiser was long the King of Beers, something stronger being brewed by folk way up in the Ozarks, easily could have led to a logo featuring a hillbilly with moonshine jug in hand sitting on an ABA ball. On the other hand, the team nickname almost sounds like a gay parade headed down Main Street, USA Yeah, I think the powers-that-be were spot-on, even in the swingin’ 70’s – long before the term politically correct was coined.
MTM’s “Semi-Pro”, West Coast Craig, tomorrow.