The Pittsburgh Condors were a professional basketball team in the original American Basketball Association. Called the Pittsburgh Pipers, they were a charter franchise of the ABA and captured the first league title; the team played their home games in Pittsburgh's Civic Arena. The Pipers were one of the ABA's inaugural franchises in 1967; the team had great success on the court, posting the league's best record during the regular season and winning the league's first ABA Championship. The Pipers were led by their star player, ABA MVP and future Hall-of-Famer Connie Hawkins, who led the ABA in scoring at 26.8 ppg. The Pipers swept through the 1968 ABA Playoffs and defeated the New Orleans Buccaneers 4 games to 3 to take the title, with Hawkins earning Finals MVP honors; the ABA title remains Pittsburgh's only pro basketball championship. Pittsburgh Pipers vs. Indiana Pacers: Pipers win series 3-0 Game 1 @ Pittsburgh: Pittsburgh 146, Indiana 127 Game 2 @ Pittsburgh: Pittsburgh 121, Indiana 108 Game 3 @ Indiana: Pittsburgh 133, Indiana 114 Pittsburgh Pipers vs. Minnesota Muskies: Pipers win series 4-1 Game 1 @ Pittsburgh: Pittsburgh 125, Minnesota 117 Game 2 @ Pittsburgh: Minnesota 137, Pittsburgh 123 Game 3 @ Minnesota: Pittsburgh 107, Minnesota 99 Game 4 @ Minnesota: Pittsburgh 117, Minnesota 108 Game 5 @ Pittsburgh: Pittsburgh 114, Minnesota 105 Pittsburgh Pipers VS.
New Orleans Buccaneers: Pipers win Series 4-3 Game 1 @ Pittsburgh: Pittsburgh 120, New Orleans 112 Game 2 @ Pittsburgh: New Orleans 109, Pittsburgh 100 Game 3 @ New Orleans: New Orleans 109, Pittsburgh 101 Game 4 @ New Orleans: Pittsburgh 106, New Orleans 105 Game 5 @ Pittsburgh: New Orleans 111, Pittsburgh 108 Game 6 @ New Orleans: Pittsburgh 118, New Orleans 112 Game 7 @ Pittsburgh: Pittsburgh 122, New Orleans 113 The Pipers shared the Pittsburgh Civic Arena with the city's expansion National Hockey League team, the Pittsburgh Penguins. The Pipers attracted respectable gates by ABA standards, averaging 3,200 fans per game. Despite the championship and strong attendance figures in Pittsburgh, the Pipers franchise left Pittsburgh after their 1968 ABA Championship and moved to Minnesota in 1968, becoming the Minnesota Pipers. Minnesota was left vacant when the Minnesota Muskies had trouble drawing people in the league's first season and moved to Miami to become the Miami Floridians; the ABA league office was based in Minneapolis, so the Pipers moved when a Minneapolis attorney named Bill Erickson bought a majority share of the team.
As with the Muskies, their home arena was Bloomington's Met Center. Despite making the playoffs, the Pipers' attendance settings fared no better than the Muskies and they moved back to Pittsburgh after only one season. In Terry Pluto's book on the ABA, Loose Balls, Pipers co-owner Gabe Rubin says he returned to the Steel City because he couldn't think of anywhere else to go. For the first season back in Pittsburgh the team retained the "Pipers" nickname. However, the team failed to match their previous success and fans stayed away. After the season, Haven Industries, maker of the "Jack Frost" brand of sugar products, bought the team and decided a name change was in order. A "name-the-team" contest yielded the nickname "Pittsburgh Pioneers." However, local NAIA school Point Park College had that nickname and threatened to sue. Ownership resolved the objection by changing the name to "Condors." Jack McMahon took over as coach. John Brisker and Mike Lewis played in the 1971 ABA All-Star Game, but the Condors could only manage a 36-48 record, fifth place in the Eastern Division and out of the playoffs.
While the Condors had a potent offense, they were undone by their defense. Attendance remained poor, with an announced average of 2,806, though some observers close to the team thought the actual average was less than half that. After a slow start, general manager Marty Blake decided to give away every available seat for an early-season game against Florida on November 17; the game attracted the biggest crowd that the team would draw under the Condors name as 11,012 tickets were given out. Ownership was not amused, Blake was fired soon after; the most memorable moment of the season came when Charlie "Helicopter" Hentz destroyed two backboards in a game against the Carolina Cougars. For the next season, Haven tried to change the Condors' image, with a new logo and uniforms, plus a slick marketing campaign. In October, they lured the defending NBA champion Milwaukee Bucks to Pittsburgh for an exhibition game, guaranteeing the Bucks $25,000. A local ad proclaimed "Bring on Alcindor" and that "the ABA-NBA merger is here".
For the Condors, Alcindor—who had changed his name to Kareem Abdul-Jabbar just a few days before the game—was injured and did not play. Only about eight to nine thousand fans showed up, the Condors "took a bath" on the deal—not a good start for the season. After a 4-6 start, general manager Mark Binstein fired McMahon for unknown reasons and named himself head coach; the move backfired disastrously. As the season progressed, attendance dropped below 1,000 fans per game, fueling speculation the Condors would fold before Christmas. While they did manage to survive into the
Craig H. Dill was an American basketball player. Dill played college basketball at the University of Michigan, he was a 6'11" center. Dill was drafted in the fourth round of the 1967 NBA Draft by the San Diego Rockets but opted instead to play for the Pittsburgh Pipers of the American Basketball Association. Dill was a member of the 1967-68 Pittsburgh Pipers team. During that season Dill averaged 5.8 rebounds per game. Basketball-Reference.com Craig Dill page
Cornelius "Connie" Lance Hawkins was an American basketball player in the American Basketball League, American Basketball Association and National Basketball Association, Harlem Globetrotters, Harlem Wizards, as well as being a New York City playground legend. It was on the New York City courts that he earned The Hawk. Hawkins was inducted into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame in 1992. Hawkins was born in the Bedford-Stuyvesant section of Brooklyn. Hawkins soon became a fixture at Rucker Park, a legendary outdoor court where he battled against some of the best players in the world. Hawkins did not play much until his junior year at Boys High. Hawkins was All-City first team as a junior as Boys went undefeated and won New York's Public Schools Athletic League title in 1959. During his senior year he averaged 25.5 points per game, including one game in which he scored 60, Boys again went undefeated and won the 1960 PSAL title. Hawkins signed a scholarship offer to play at the University of Iowa.
During Hawkins' freshman year at Iowa, he was a victim of the hysteria surrounding a point-shaving scandal that had started in New York City. Hawkins' name surfaced in an interview conducted with an individual, involved in the scandal. While some of the conspirators and characters involved were known to or knew Hawkins, none – including the New York attorney at the center of the scandal, Jack Molinas – had sought to involve Hawkins in the conspiracy. Hawkins had borrowed $200 from Molinas for school expenses, which his brother Fred repaid before the scandal broke in 1961; the scandal became known as the 1961 college basketball gambling scandal. Despite the fact that Hawkins could not have been involved in point-shaving, he was kept from seeking legal counsel while being grilled by New York City detectives who were investigating the scandal; as a result of the investigation, despite never being arrested or indicted, Hawkins was expelled from Iowa. He was blackballed from the college ranks. NBA commissioner J. Walter Kennedy let it be known that he would not approve any contract for Hawkins to play in the league.
At the time, the NBA had a policy barring players who were remotely involved with point-shaving scandals. As a result, when his class was eligible for the draft in 1964, no team selected him, he went undrafted in 1965 as well before being formally banned from the league in 1966. With the major professional basketball league having blackballed him, Hawkins played one season for the Pittsburgh Rens of the American Basketball League and was named the league's most valuable player. After that league folded in the middle of the 1962–63 season, Hawkins spent four years performing with the Harlem Globetrotters. During the time Hawkins was traveling with the Globetrotters, he filed a $6 million lawsuit against the NBA, claiming the league had unfairly banned him from participation and that there was no substantial evidence linking him to gambling activities. Hawkins's lawyers suggested that he participate in the new American Basketball Association as a way to show that he was talented enough to participate in the NBA.
Hawkins joined the Pittsburgh Pipers in the inaugural 1967–68 season of the ABA, leading the team to a 54–24 regular season record and the 1968 ABA championship. Hawkins led the ABA in scoring that year and won both the ABA's regular season and playoff MVP awards; the Pipers moved to Minnesota for the 1968–69 season, injuries limited Hawkins to 47 games. Hawkins had surgery on his knee; the Pipers made the playoffs despite injuries to their top four players, but were eliminated in the first round of the playoffs. In the light of several major media pieces, notably in Life magazine, establishing the dubious nature of the evidence connecting Hawkins to gambling, the NBA concluded it was unlikely to defend the lawsuit and elected to settle after the 1968–69 season; the league paid Hawkins a cash settlement of nearly $1.3 million, assigned his rights to the expansion Phoenix Suns. He would be assigned to the Suns as a result of the them winning a coin toss over the Seattle SuperSonics. Although the Pipers made a cursory effort to re-sign him, playing in the NBA had been a longtime ambition for Hawkins and he signed with the Suns.
In 1969, Hawkins hit the ground running in his first season with the Phoenix Suns, when he played 81 games and averaged 24.6 points, 10.4 rebounds and 4.8 assists per game. In the final game of his rookie season, Connie had 44 points, 20 rebounds, 8 assists, 5 blocks and 5 steals; the Suns finished third in the Western Conference, but were knocked out by the Los Angeles Lakers in a seven-game Western Conference Finals series in which Hawkins carried the Suns against a team that had future Hall of Famers Wilt Chamberlain, Elgin Baylor and Jerry West. For the series, Hawkins averaged 14 rebounds and 7 assists per game. Hawkins missed 11 games due to injury during the 1970 -- 71 season, he matched those stats the next year, was the top scorer on a per-game basis for the Suns in the 1971–72 season. He averaged only 16 points per game for the Suns in the 1972–73 season, was traded to the Lakers for the next season. Injuries limited his production in the 1974–75 season, Hawkins finished his career after the 1975–76 season, playing for the Atlanta Hawks.
Connie Hawkins was named to the ABA's All-Time Team. Due to knee problems, Hawkins played in the NBA for only seven seasons, he was an All-Star from 1970 to 1973 and was named to the All-NBA First Team in the 1969–70 seaso
1969 ABA All-Star Game
The second American Basketball Association All-Star Game was played on January 28, 1969 at Louisville Convention Center in Louisville, Kentucky before an audience at 5,407, between teams from the Western Conference and the Eastern Conference. The West team won the game, with a score of 133–127. Gene Rhodes of the Kentucky Colonels coached the East, while Alex Hannum of the Oakland Oaks coached the victorious West. In the previous year, Hannum had coached the NBA's West team to victory in the 1968 NBA All-Star Game. John Beasley of the Dallas Chaparrals was named MVP of the game, with a 19 points and 14 rebound performance; the officials were Ron Rakel. The scoring was close, with each team winning two quarters. West was leading by 64–60 at halftime, by 101–90 at the end of the third quarter; the Official NBA Basketball Encyclopedia. Villard Books. 1994. P. 258. ISBN 0-679-43293-0. Basketball-reference.com. "1969 ABA All-Star Game". Archived from the original on 5 June 2008. Retrieved 2008-07-13. ABA All Star Game at RemembertheABA.com
The point guard called the one or point, is one of the five positions in a regulation basketball game. A point guard has the most specialized role of any position. Point guards are expected to run the team's offense by controlling the ball and making sure that it gets to the right player at the right time. Above all, the point guard must understand and accept their coach's game plan. While the point guard must understand and accept the coach's gameplan, they must be able to adapt to what the defense is allowing, they must control the pace of the game. A point guard, like other player positions in basketball, specializes in certain skills. A point guard's primary job is to facilitate scoring opportunities for his/her team, or sometimes for themselves. Lee Rose has described a point guard as a coach on the floor, who can handle and distribute the ball to teammates; this involves setting up plays on the court, getting the ball to the teammate in the best position to score, controlling the tempo of the game.
A point guard should know when and how to instigate a fast break and when and how to initiate the more deliberate sets. Point guards are expected to be vocal floor leaders. A point guard needs always to have in mind the times on the shot clock and the game clock, the score, the numbers of remaining timeouts for both teams, etc. Among the taller players who have enjoyed success at the position is Ben Simmons, who at 6’ 10” won the 2018 National Basketball Association Rookie of the Year Award. Behind him is Magic Johnson, who at 6’ 9” won the National Basketball Association Most Valuable Player Award three times in his career. Other point guards who have been named NBA MVP include Russell Westbrook, Bob Cousy, Oscar Robertson, Allen Iverson, Derrick Rose and two-time winners Steve Nash and Stephen Curry. In the NBA, point guards are about 6' 4" or shorter, average about 6' 2" whereas in the WNBA, point guards are 5' 9" or shorter. Having above-average size is considered advantageous, although size is secondary to situational awareness, speed and ball handling skills.
Shorter players tend to be better dribblers since they are closer to the floor, thus have better control of the ball while dribbling. After an opponent scores, it is the point guard who brings the ball down court to begin an offensive play. Passing skills, ball handling, court vision are crucial. Speed is important. Point guards are valued more for their assist totals than for their scoring. Another major evaluation factor is assist-to-turnover ratio, which reflects the decision-making skills of the player. Still, a first-rate point guard should have a reasonably effective jump shot; the point guard is positioned on the perimeter of the play, so as to have the best view of the action. This is a necessity because of the point guard's many leadership obligations. Many times, the point guard is referred to by announcers as a "coach on the floor" or a "floor general". In the past, this was true, as several point guards such as Lenny Wilkens served their teams as player-coaches; this is not so common anymore, as most coaches are now specialized in coaching and are non-players.
Some point guards are still given a great deal of leeway in the offense. Point guards who are not given this much freedom, are still extensions of their coach on the floor and must display good leadership skills. Along with leadership and a general basketball acumen, ball-handling is a skill of great importance to a point guard. Speaking, the point guard is the player in possession of the ball for the most time during a game and is responsible for maintaining possession of the ball for his team in the face of any pressure from the opponents. Point guards must be able to maintain possession of the ball in crowded spaces and in traffic and be able to advance the ball quickly. A point guard that has enough ball-handling skill and quickness to be able to drive to the basket in a half-court set is very valuable and considered by some to be a must for a successful offense. After ball-handling and scoring are the most important areas of the game for a point guard; as the primary decision-maker for a team, a point guard's passing ability determines how well a point guard is able to put his decision into play.
It is one thing to be able to recognize the player, in a tactically advantageous position, but it is another thing to be able to deliver the ball to that player. For this reason, a point guard is but not always, more skilled and focused on passing than shooting. However, a good jump shot and the ability to score off a drive to the basket are still valuable skills. A point guard will use his ability to score in order to augment his effectiveness as a decision maker and play maker. In addition to the traditional role of the point guard, modern teams have found new ways to utilize the position. Notably, several modern point guards have used a successful style of post play, a tactic practiced by much larger centers and forwards. Working off of the fact that the opposing point guard is in all probability an undersized player with limited strength, several modern point guards have developed games close to the basket that include being able to utilize the drop step, spin move, fade away jump shot. In recent years, the sport's shift from a fundamental style of play to a more athletic, scoring-oriented game resulted in the proliferation of so-called combo guards at the po
National Basketball Association
The National Basketball Association is a men's professional basketball league in North America. It is considered to be the premier men's professional basketball league in the world; the NBA is an active member of USA Basketball, recognized by FIBA as the national governing body for basketball in the United States. The NBA is one of the four major professional sports leagues in the United States and Canada. NBA players are the world's best paid athletes by average annual salary per player; the league was founded in New York City on June 1946, as the Basketball Association of America. The league adopted the name National Basketball Association on August 3, 1949, after merging with the competing National Basketball League; the league's several international as well as individual team offices are directed out of its head offices located in the Olympic Tower at 645 Fifth Avenue in Midtown Manhattan. NBA Entertainment and NBA TV studios are directed out of offices located in New Jersey; the Basketball Association of America was founded in 1946 by owners of the major ice hockey arenas in the Northeastern and Midwestern United States and Canada.
On November 1, 1946, in Toronto, Canada, the Toronto Huskies hosted the New York Knickerbockers at Maple Leaf Gardens, in a game the NBA now refers to as the first game played in NBA history. The first basket was made by Ossie Schectman of the Knickerbockers. Although there had been earlier attempts at professional basketball leagues, including the American Basketball League and the NBL, the BAA was the first league to attempt to play in large arenas in major cities. During its early years, the quality of play in the BAA was not better than in competing leagues or among leading independent clubs such as the Harlem Globetrotters. For instance, the 1948 ABL finalist Baltimore Bullets moved to the BAA and won that league's 1948 title, the 1948 NBL champion Minneapolis Lakers won the 1949 BAA title. Prior to the 1948–49 season, however, NBL teams from Fort Wayne, Indianapolis and Rochester jumped to the BAA, which established the BAA as the league of choice for collegians looking to turn professional.
On August 3, 1949, the remaining NBL teams–Syracuse, Tri-Cities, Sheboygan and Waterloo–merged into the BAA. In deference to the merger and to avoid possible legal complications, the league name was changed to the present National Basketball Association though the merged league retained the BAA's governing body, including Podoloff. To this day, the NBA claims the BAA's history as its own, it now reckons the arrival of the NBL teams as an expansion, not a merger, does not recognize NBL records and statistics. The new league had seventeen franchises located in a mix of large and small cities, as well as large arenas and smaller gymnasiums and armories. In 1950, the NBA consolidated to eleven franchises, a process that continued until 1953–54, when the league reached its smallest size of eight franchises: the New York Knicks, Boston Celtics, Philadelphia Warriors, Minneapolis Lakers, Rochester Royals, Fort Wayne Pistons, Tri-Cities Blackhawks, Syracuse Nationals, all of which remain in the league today.
The process of contraction saw. The Hawks shifted from the Tri-Cities to Milwaukee in 1951, to St. Louis in 1955; the Rochester Royals moved from Rochester, New York, to Cincinnati in 1957 and the Pistons relocated from Fort Wayne, Indiana, to Detroit in 1957. Japanese-American Wataru Misaka broke the NBA color barrier in the 1947–48 season when he played for the New York Knicks, he remained the only non-white player in league history prior to the first African-American, Harold Hunter, signing with the Washington Capitols in 1950. Hunter was cut from the team during training camp, but several African-American players did play in the league that year, including Chuck Cooper with the Celtics, Nathaniel "Sweetwater" Clifton with the Knicks, Earl Lloyd with the Washington Capitols. During this period, the Minneapolis Lakers, led by center George Mikan, won five NBA Championships and established themselves as the league's first dynasty. To encourage shooting and discourage stalling, the league introduced the 24-second shot clock in 1954.
If a team does not attempt to score a field goal within 24 seconds of obtaining the ball, play is stopped and the ball given to its opponent. In 1957, rookie center Bill Russell joined the Boston Celtics, which featured guard Bob Cousy and coach Red Auerbach, went on to lead the club to eleven NBA titles in thirteen seasons. Center Wilt Chamberlain entered the league with the Warriors in 1959 and became a dominant individual star of the 1960s, setting new single game records in scoring and rebounding. Russell's rivalry with Chamberlain became one of the greatest rivalries in the history of American team sports; the 1960s were dominated by the Celtics. Led by Russell, Bob Cousy and coach Red Auerbach, Boston won eight straight championships in the NBA from 1959 to 1966; this championship streak is the longest in NBA history. They did not win the title in 1966–67, but regained it in the 1967–68 season and repeated in 1969; the domination totaled nine of the ten championship banners of the 1960s.
Through this period, the NBA continued to evolve with the shift of the Minneapolis Lakers to Los Angeles, the Philadelphia Warriors to San Francisco, the Syracuse Nationals to Philadelphia to become the Philadelphia 76ers, the St. Louis Hawks moving to Atlanta, as well as the addition of its first expansion franchises; the Chicago Packers (now Wa
ABA Playoffs Most Valuable Player Award
The ABA Playoffs Most Valuable Player Award was an annual American Basketball Association given in the ABA Playoffs. The award was first awarded in the 1968 ABA Playoffs, was retired as part of the ABA–NBA merger. In sports, the player judged to be the most important to the team is the most valuable player; the inaugural award winner was Pittsburgh Pipers' player Connie Hawkins. On all occasions, the player who wins the Playoffs MVP award is from the team that won the ABA championship. Julius Erving, who led the New York Nets to two ABA championships in 1974 and 1976, is the only player to win the award twice