Freddie Lewis

Ht. 6-0
Wt. 180
College - Eastern Arizona/Arizona State
ABA Teams: Indiana (1967-68 to 1973-74), Memphis (1974-75), St. Louis (1974-75 to 1975-76)

Original Member of Indiana Pacers in 1967; Pacers' Team Captain; MVP of 1972 ABA Playoffs; 4-Time ABA All-Star; MVP of 1975 ABA All-Star Game; Played on all 3 Indiana Pacers ABA Championship Teams; Pacers ABA Leader in Games Played (672), Free Throws Made (2,999), and Assists (2711); Led Pacers' first team (1967-68) in scoring (20.6 ppg).

From Jim O'Brien's 1972-73 Complete Handbook of Pro Basketball:
Named MVP in 1972 ABA Playoffs, Lewis was the one who led Pacers to the championship . . . Long underrated and too often unappreciated by Pacer fans . . . "I'm gonna play here and I'm gonna make them accept me whether they want to or not," he told us after his outstanding series against the Nets . . . "He was our steadiest performer and leader in the playoffs," said Coach Leonard . . . Averaged 19.2 points and 4.4 assists a game, where his regular season average was 15.4 and 4.7 . . . "I always thought we had the talent to win it," said Freddie, one of the finest young men in the game, "and I felt it was my job to pass on that spirit to the other guys." . . . He ignited several comebacks and hit many clutch shots . . . In seventh game against Utah he came up with 23 points, 12 rebounds and 6 assists, and his two free throws with 24 seconds left supplied the winning points . . . In the crushing fifth contest against New York in the finals, he led Pacers back from 20-point deficit with numerous steals and baskets, and finally swiped the ball and notched two winning free throws with 17 seconds left . . . Indianapolis fans often booed when Lewis started ahead of Rick Mount, but no more . . . Nicknamed "Fritz" . . . He's captain of club. "Being named captain every year with the Pacers has been a great honor," he says, "it makes you feel good to think the fellows believe in you." . . . Super attitude enhances his talents . . . Coach Leonard sums it up: "He plays good defense. He does almost everything well. You can't let him shoot. And he'll drive on you. He's done a great job for me since I came to this team." . . . Was Oscar Robertson's backup man with the NBA Cincinnati Royals before ABA came into being . . . "Oscar taught me a lot," says Lewis, "taught me how to be cool, how to handle situations instead of running all over the court helter-skelter." . . . Accurate jump shot and one of the league's best hustlers.
Career ABA Totals 686 24038 4161 9613 .433 275 983 .280 3063 3741 .819 2661 2883 2016 - - 11660 3.9 4.2 17.0
ABA Playoff Totals 106 4151 712 1679 .424 43 175 .246 548 643 .852 437 458 348 - - 2015 4.1 4.3 19.0
ABA All-Star Totals 4 78 21 42 .500 2 3 .667 7 9 .778 12 15 7 - - 51 3.0 3.8 12.8

Freddie Lewis started his ABA career with the Pacers (above left) and, by the end of the 1973-74 season, was their all-time leader in assists, free throws and games played. In some ways, he was less appreciated than perennial ABA All-Stars Roger Brown and Mel Daniels - his number has not yet been retired by the Pacers. But, he was probably the most important ingredient to each of the Pacers' three ABA titles. After the Pacers lost to Utah in the 1974 ABA Western Division Finals, Pacers management decided to "clean house." Indiana traded Lewis, plus the other longtime Pacer veterans Brown and Daniels, to the Memphis Sounds for backup guard Charlie Edge and cash. Given how Lewis played during the last two years of the ABA, the Pacers lived to regret this trade.

Lewis' stay with the Sounds was very short - only five games in October of 1974 (above middle). His play with the Sounds was impressive - - impressive enough to be traded yet again. The Sounds were desperate for a veteran center after Daniels slipped in a bathtub, threw out his back, and was lost for several months. So Memphis quickly shipped Lewis to the Spirits of St. Louis in exchange for Tom Owens.

The Spirits were desperate for a veteran guard and Lewis delivered (above right vs. his "new" former team, the Sounds). He made the 1975 ABA All-Star team and won MVP honors at the 8th Annual ABA All-Star Game in San Antonio. He quarterbacked the Spirits to an unlikely playoff berth, and then helped St. Louis beat the heavily favored Nets in the first round of the 1975 ABA Playoffs (hitting the series-winning shot at the buzzer). In the next round against the eventual champion Kentucky Colonels, the young Spirits held their own. But they succumbed after Lewis sprained an ankle in Game 4 at St. Louis.

Incredibly, at the end of his ABA career, Lewis had played in 106 ABA Playoff Games (an average of more than 10 per season).

Many of the Freddie Lewis photos above are copyright © Albert Hall and used with permission. Interested in obtaining an 8x10 print of these or other ABA photos? and let him know of your interest.

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