MEMORIES OF MIKE WATTS: "I literally grew up with the Nets. When Rick Barry would do local clinics, I was always there, usually as a helper. I still have pictures of his boys and I. My Dad was a season seat holder from back in the Commack days, since the Garden/Knick thing was out of our way being in Suffolk County. My godmother went out with Jim Ard and Ollie Taylor (not at the same time...but then again, it was the swinging 70's). Ollie Taylor happened to be one of my favorite people, ever. And when Julius came 'home," the Nets were really hopping. Billy Paultz had a club across the street from the Coliseum called The Salty Dog, and everyone went there after the games - most of the time, you saw players from both teams."
MEMORIES OF CHARLIE DAY: "My favorite ABA memory involved the Nets, who were on TV occasionally in New York. I think they started on WPIX Channel 11 and moved to WOR Channel 9. Anyway, in the pre- Dr J. era they had one of these teams that always seemed to have trouble and injuries. At one point they lost something like three guards to injuries. I am thinking that the guards who were hurt were Bill Melchionni, Johnny Roche, and at least one other. To address the hole in their lineup, the Nets signed a guy named Georgie Bruns, who was teaching grade school until the Nets came calling. I remember him being a very short white guy with a short hair cut. In his first game, which happened to be televised, he wore high top black sneakers at a time when no one in the pros was wearing black sneakers. They may have even been the old Black Chuck Taylor Converse sneakers that were popular in the playgrounds at that time.
Another memory was listening to Al Albert (Marv's brother) who was the Nets radio announcer - I am pretty sure he did the games alone. This is the kind of thing that I am sure no one remembers - for some reason during one game Johnny Roche stopped to talk to one of the other players while play was still going on. He had the ball taken away from him. Al Albert started screaming "New low, new low, it's a new low," and described how Roche literally gave the ball away to the other team in order to talk to one of his teammates. Years later, I would still tell this story to friends. Sometimes I even screamed "New Low!" at semi-appropriate times.
One of the great things about the ABA was that otherwise burned out NBA stars could sometimes go there and continue to play. I remember Gus Johnson playing center for the Pacers with these big bandages on his knees. He still killed the Nets. The ABA also took older players who had been prevented from playing in the NBA. I remember Doug Moe playing through injuries with the Squires. It seemed like he was 50 years old but he was probably 33 at the time. He also killed the Nets.
I have to say that the current NBA is really more of an end-product of the ABA than the NBA of the 60's and 70's. The 60's and 70's NBA was a slow mid-range shooting, post up the big man league. Most of the NBA centers were big lugging guys who did not dribble or shoot from the outside, they just lumbered up and down the court. The guards were 6' to 6' 5" guys who were the only ones who dribbled the ball. The ABA on the other hand introduced Dr J, Charlie Scott, George McGinnis, Connie Hawkins and a lot of other guys who were a lot like today's bigger, faster, more versatile players."
MEMORIES OF MCWSTAR: "One Sunday afternoon my friend and I went to see Kentucky play the Nets out on Long Island. For us 16-year-old Manhattan residents, that involved taking the subway downtown to Penn Station, taking the Long Island Railroad out to Hempstead, and then walking (in this case) or taking the bus from the Hempstead station to the Nassau Coliseum.
All told, this was a 2 1/2 hour trip each way - or in other words, 5 hours of travel for what was little more than a 2-hour game. Furthermore, the Nets were getting run out of the gym that day, and Artis Gilmore was in the midst, as I recall, of setting a league rebounding record in that game. Then, somewhere near the end of the 3rd quarter or beginning of the 4th, Dr. J took off on the baseline and flew around Dan Issel, and then around the now challenging Artis Gilmore, to wind up on Gilmore's other side. This, of course, was all done in the air, culminating in Erving's slam in Gilmore face.
My friend turned to me and said, "For that, this trip was worthwhile.""