ABA Player Biographies
by Jim O'Brien -- jimmyo64@gmail.com

Rick Barry

Wendell Ladner

Jim would like to hear from ABA fans. So if you would like to correspond with him, please drop him a line at jimmyo64gmail.com He is also available to answer questions about his current books and projects.

If you followed the ABA in the 1970's, you're likely familiar with Jim O'Brien. You might have read his weekly ABA columns in The Sporting News. He did them on his own at first, and then in tandem with Woody Paige for the last two years of the league (Jim had the "ABA East" duties, and Woody had the "ABA West" duties). Or you may have purchased his Complete Handbook of Pro Basketball for the 1970-71 and 1971-72 seasons, to read the most detailed ABA team and player profiles available anywhere. Or you might have purchased the yearly Street and Smith's Basketball Yearbook. Jim was the founding editor of this publication in 1970, and always made sure that its ABA coverage was equal to its NBA coverage. Overall, it is fair to say that Jim became the national writer of the red, white and blue league.

In his new book Looking Up - From the ABA to the NBA, the WNBA to the NCAA, Jim has given us an insider's view of basketball from his many years of covering the sport. While the book covers organized basketball as a whole, Jim's heart is with the ABA. So he's devoted specific chapters to many of the unique ABA coaches, players and personalities he worked with. If you're an ABA fan, you'll enjoy the chapters on Bill Sharman, Simmie Hill, Art Heyman, Woody Paige, Willie Wise, Reggie Harding, Connie Hawkins, Bill Melchionni, Dr. J, John Brisker, Fly Williams, and Roger Brown. Jim also has chapters devoted to the 1976 ABA/NBA merger, and the final ABA records/statistics (personally passed along to Jim by Jim Bukata, the last publicist of the ABA, after the conclusion of the 1976 playoffs). There are also chapters on Red Auerbach, Wilt Chamberlain, Michael Jordan, Bob Lanier, Bill Bradley, Jerry Tarkanian, Jerry West, and Mike Krzyzewski, among many others.

If you ever wondered what it was like to receive a token of kindness from a busy Dr. J of the New York Nets, have a ringside seat to many of the on-court fights provoked by John Brisker of the Pittsburgh Pipers/Condors, receive targeted abuse from Bobby Knight of the Indiana Hoosiers, or struggle through an interview with an irritated Dave Cowens of the Boston Celtics, then this is the book for you. It has fond memories, sad recollections, and candid admissions - highly recommended, and you won't soon forget the stories and experiences that Jim conveys.

This book - intended to be the first of two editions - is over 480 pages with over 200 photos and illustrations (including many from the ABA). It's available by visiting www.jimobriensportsauthor.com, or by just e-mailing Jim at jimmyo64@gmail.com. The price of the book is $29.95 plus $3.95 postage, and Jim is happy to provide personalized signatures with any purchase.

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