MEMORIES OF PHILIP KEMP: "Being originally from Pittsburgh, and growing up in Minneapolis, I had a unique perspective on the ABA. We moved to the Twin Cities in 1965 when I was six, but we visited our relatives in Pittsburgh during the summer or Christmas.
My first ABA experience was seeing an advertisement at Red Owl. Red Owl was a chain of grocery stores in the Midwest, including Minnesota. Their ad offered two tickets to a Minnesota Muskie game for purchasing $28 of groceries, which would have been 3 entire carts in 1968! I asked my Dad about going to a Muskie game. He then told me about Connie Hawkins, who he had met personally when he played for the Pittsburgh Rens. He said we would go to a Muskies game when they played the Pittsburgh Pipers, so that we could see Connie Hawkins. As it turned out, Connie Hawkins was hurt for the game we went to, and didn't even suit up. In fact, I'm not sure if he even made the trip at all because my dad couldn't spot him. Even without Hawkins there, I was still excited to be at a pro basketball game. The Muskies won 114-95. One memory I have of the game is that the crowd heckled the Pipers' Art Heyman non-stop. Because the crowd was so small, you could hear every word, it seemed like everyone's voice just reverberated throughout the Met Center. I asked my dad who Art Heyman was, and why didn't the people like him? He didn't know. I was an ABA fan from that game onward. Later that year, my dad was invited to Muskies game by Willie Somerset when the Houston Mavericks came to town. Like Connie Hawkins, my dad knew him from his days in Pittsburgh where they were frat brothers. My dad referred to him as "Sonny". After the game, we actually got to go in the Mavericks locker room. As a little kid, I couldn't believe I was in the locker room of a pro basketball team, I was so amazed!
We went to about 6 or 7 Muskies games that year. I'll never forget when we went to see the Pittsburgh Pipers again in the playoffs. I couldn't believe how many people were in the stands. It seemed to be close to capacity, but looking at the log on the web site, the crowd was 8,357; Met Sports Center held about 15,000. Being used to so many empty seats, the crowd looked much larger to the impressionable mind of a 9-year old. Connie Hawkins did play in this game, and demonstrated what a magician he was with the ball. I was fascinated the way he palmed the ball, and waved it around, handling a basketball like it was a tennis ball.
The next year we attended a few games for the Minnesota Pipers, after the Pipers just happened to move to Minnesota. Finally in 1971, I attended a Pittsburgh Condor game while visiting Pittsburgh. I don't know offhand which game that was, but we were in Pittsburgh for Christmas, and I know the Condors lost.
I always thought it was a shame more people didn't appreciate the ABA and all its great players."
MEMORIES OF MARCUS ROBERSON: "I remember attending a Minnesota Muskies game with my dad at the Old Met Center where the NHL Minnesota North stars also debuted in the 1967-68 season. The Minneapolis Lakers had long since departed for Los Angeles, and my dad and I dearly missed them. When it was discovered that we had an ABA franchise in the Cities, I was exuberant. We watched the Muskies play the Kentucky Colonels. I vividly remember a player on the Colonels named Cotton Nash! I was only 11 years at the time and I will never forget the experience. When the Muskies moved to Florida the following season, we acquired a replacement team, the Pittsburgh Pipers. We attended one game of the Minnesota Pipers, but I don't recall the opposing team. However, I remember seeing Connie Hawkins on the sidelines in street clothes. He was injured at the time. He was one of my all time favorite basketball players. To this day, I am an avid collector of ABA memorabilia and replicas! I own an original Minnesota Muskies marquee and an original tee shirt among other ABA collectibles."