Virginia Squires Fan Memories (Page 2)

MEMORIES OF CHRISTOPHER CARTER: "I grew up on the ABA living in Williamsburg from 1971-1974. We always went to about four Squires games a year at Hampton Roads. Even today, at 43 years of age, I have seen only two NBA games in person, and I rarely watch NBA games on TV. Youth basketball leagues in Williamsburg had ABA team names. We all had red, white and blue basketballs. And, my own youth league even used them in our games the last year I lived there. For me, the biggest plus about the ABA was that I could walk onto the court before a game and talk to Dr. J, Mike Barr, the Iceman, just about everyone except Jim Eakins - he was never "fan friendly." I even shook Wilt Chamberlain's hand when he was coaching San Diego.

I thought, and still believe, that the ABA was the greatest thing to happen to basketball. Looking back on it, the league also had a positive effect on the country. As I recall, the Southeast Conference only had its first black football player in 1970, and the South was still segregated in practice - yet ABA professional basketball teams with white and black players were in Miami, New Orleans, Memphis, Virginia, Charlotte and Kentucky. At this time, Atlanta and Houston were the only NBA teams south of Baltimore and east of Phoenix. The ABA was a remarkable situation."

MEMORIES OF TIM EASON: "When I was about 8 years old and living in Virginia Beach, I would wait outside of an apartment in Lake Edward to say hello to one of my favorite players. We would chant "GG!" as he walked to his baby blue Lincoln Continental and at Scope during warmups. The player later got traded as did all the great Squires, and he picked up a new nickname: "The Ice Man."

George Gervin, Dr J, Fatty Taylor, Dave Twardzik, Swen Nater, and even Rick Barry. If the Squires could have somehow kept the players they had, we might be talking about them as champions or contenders, instead of discussing them as a payroll-slashing, Florida Marlins-type team. When the money got tight, as it did all around the league, the best players were always sold to the teams with the most available cash. Some things never change do they?"

MEMORIES OF BRIAN CARR: "I grew up in Tidewater area of Virginia and my dad had season tickets to the Squires from about 1970 until the end of the ABA. I was in Elementary School during this time and I have many, many fond memories of those games. Dr. J of course stands out above others because of what he went on to do. I sure wish I had saved the big poster of Dr J that was given out to everyone in the stands one night! It sure was cool to be able to hang out by the basket and get autographs while the players were doing their pre-game warmups. Imagine trying that in today's NBA! My brother does still have a program autographed by the entire Squires team, including Dr J.

After Dr. J my best memories are of Billy Shepherd, who didn't go on to fame, and of Dave Twardzik, who went on to much success with the Portland Trail Blazers of the NBA. My Dad had gotten to know Billy when he played in the Portsmouth Invitational Tournament. When the Squires picked him up we kept up the connection. My family even had dinner at Dave Twardzik's apartment one night with his wife and with Billy and his wife. That was cool.

My best memory of actual basketball has to be one of the first games that Dr. J played with the Squires. As you know, dunking was illegal in college ball, and so the showmanship basketball that we know today was unheard of. Well, Dr. J knew what he could do. During the pregame warmups for one of his first games, he started putting on a slam dunk show, and he got the rest of the team involved as well. The fans had never seen anything like it. I don't think a crowd ever cheered as loudly during an actual game as it did for that first pregame session. And then to see Dr J go up and reject a shot by Artis Gilmore – Wow! We all kind of figured we weren't going to be able to keep Dr J on the Squires very long. It was fun while it lasted!"

MEMORIES OF STEVE BARTON: "I graduated from high school in Newport News , Virginia in 1973. I saw many games at both the Hampton Roads Coliseum and Scope from 1970-1974. My most vivid memory is the Squires being up 2 games to none in the 1971 playoffs with the Kentucky Colonels, and then ultimately losing the series. What a terrible shame. I hope I got that memory right! I also remember the incredible playoff series with the New York Nets in 1972. I remember feeling that the Hampton Roads area had a shot at the big time, if only the Squires could make it past the Nets and into the ABA Finals. But it all slipped away in Game 7 of that series and, of course, the franchise went downhill after that. I guess, all in all, the thing I am the most proud is to be able to say, which I do often, is that I witnessed the rookie year of the great Julius Erving. I have a vivid memory of Julius slam dunking over Artis Gilmore of the Kentucky Colonels! Seeing his rookie season is my proudest recollection as a sports fan of any sport I have ever witnessed. Thank you to all the great players I was privileged to be inspired by as a young kid.

MEMORIES OF HANK GARRISON: "I was in my early 20's. Really, some of my fondest life memories were watching the Squires, with Julius Erving in particular, play at Norfolk Scope. To this day I still believe that Dr. J played the best ball of his career during his Squires tenure, better even than his time in the NBA. As well, I haven't seen anyone since who could equal his spectacular play ability, and I've seen many NBA games live in other cities. What a privilege it was to experience his play really at the pinnacle of his career BEFORE the rest of the country got to see him in the NBA!"

Virginia Squires Fan Memories (Page 1)

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