When the 1961-62 Detroit Pistons made the Division Finals, Ray Scott was their impressive rookie forward. When the team first won 50+ games in 1973-74, he was their head coach. Thus we talked about the Pistons, yet also about the city of Philadelphia (and Wilt Chamberlain), fun with the Virginia Squires in the ABA and some of his teammates who were quite ahead of their time.
"Reborn: The Pacers and the Return of Pro Basketball to Indianapolis" is a recently released book which I enjoyed very much. Its author Mark Montieth joined me on the podcast to talk about the many topics concerning it. The first professional basketball teams in Indianapolis, accuracy of ABA stories and getting them factually correct in "Reborn", the storylines of Pacers players like Reggie Harding - all of that and more is discussed in this episode.
Steve Chubin is among the basketball pioneers in more than one way. We talked about him going overseas to play in Europe after his college career when few players did so, the first season of ABA basketball in 1966-67 during which he played with the Anaheim Amigos and plenty of other stops. The fun stories about ABA people overlap with memories from his own career and a beautiful tribute to Connie Hawkins.
An NBA lifer of 30 years in the league, Gar Heard had plenty of stories to tell on this episode of The Handle Podcast. From debuting in the NBA as a rookie on Lenny Wilkens's Seattle SuperSonics and being the glue guy for the fast-paced Buffalo Braves to making the Finals with the 1975-76 Phoenix Suns. The years he spent as a coach only gave us some more additional topics to tackle.
How many athletes have turned to a career in another field right after an All-Star season at the age of 27? Willie Somerset has. The 1969 ABA All-Star-turned-pharmacist explored the biggest influences in his life, the fun times he had during a short stint with the Baltimore Bullets, how the ABA's Dallas Mavericks managed to enjoy an otherwise difficult situation and the way an Eastern Basketball Association team operated (later known as the CBA).
NBA All-Star, champion and coach Butch Beard has had an unparalleled career. From death threats during a Kentucky vs. Louisville recruiting battle to being drafted in the army after his rookie NBA season and contributing to the 1974-75 Warriors, what could be the greatest upset in NBA Finals history. Butch took us through all of that and some more in an interview full of entertaining stories.
UTEP Miners great Dave Feitl joined the show and reminisced about the university's success under coach Don Haskins, remembered the difficulties the Houston Rockets faced after the 1986 Finals and told us his story about regaining confidence in Europe after being run into the ground with the Washington Bullets.
You can't tell the story of the ABA without multiple mentions of Mike Storen. The former general manager of the Indiana Pacers, the Kentucky Colonels and the one-time commissioner of the league joined the podcast to describe his career path, provide us with insight about his front office moves at Indiana and paint a picture of how the league operated.
Author Adam Criblez came on the podcast to talk about his book "Tall Tales and Short Shorts" on the 1970s NBA, Pete Maravich's struggles in the NBA, Julius Erving joining the Bucks as the best what if of the decade and plenty of other 70s basketball minutiae.
Two-time NAIA All-American Kevin Loder stopped by to talk about playing multiple sports while growing up, the cultural significance of Alabama State's success during his time there and remember his days with the early 1980s Kansas City Kings.
Idaho State Bengals legend Jeff Cook came on the podcast to relive the Bengals 1976-77 season in which they reached the Elite Eight, share memories from his time with the great 1980s Phoenix Suns and tell stories from teams and leagues like the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Western Basketball Association.
Gus Gerard -- one of the few ever Spirits of St. Louis -- joined the show to relive the days of the strong ACC in the 1970s, his time in the ABA with the Spirits and the Denver Nuggets, how underrated the Kansas City Kings were and to tell more about the secret life he lead during his play days, how he successfully recovered from his addiction.
Warriors legend Tom Meschery describes the early days of his life -- spending time in an internment camp in Japan during the war, being a Russian immigrant in San Francisco -- and how turning to basketball lead to a successful 10-year career with the San Francisco Warriors and Seattle Supersonics.