By Reinis Lacis (@LamarMatic)
The two-time ABA All-Star Swen Nater shares his story of beating the odds after living in a Netherlands orphanage early in life and tells me many ABA and NBA anecdotes from the 1970s.
Topics discussed in the podcast:
00:45 – Swen almost exclusively only playing soccer in his homeland of Netherlands, with which he still feels a connection with;
03:30 – His mother emigrating to the USA due to the family’s economic status, Swen living in foster homes in the Netherlands until being re-united with his family on a US television show “It Could Be You”;
11:50 – Swen developing a liking for the Los Angeles Lakers and basketball despite his step-father’s horrible treatment of him and not being allowed to participate in any kinds of such activities;
15:40 – Coach Tom Lubin noticing him at Cypress College, working with Nater until he became a junior college All-American and was noticed by UCLA’s coach John Wooden;
19:15 – Swen’s time at UCLA and being the best college center his teammate Bill Walton faced at that point
20:15 – Choosing the Virginia Squires of the ABA over NBA’s Milwaukee Bucks;
21:45 – The 1973 USA All-Star super-series against the USSR national team, the 1972 Olympic trials, Swen performing great at both of these events;
27:20 – His first impressions of a 21-year-old George Gervin;
29:00 – Being the best player at the 1974 ABA All-Star Game with a 29-point and 22-rebound performance;
32:25 – His fan club at San Antonio – the “Nater’s Raiders”, the chaos caused by “Baseline Bums”, a fan club for the whole Spurs team;
34:45 – Swen enjoying his time with the Milwaukee Bucks, achieving the 30-point/33-rebound game and the 18 defensive rebounds in a half (NBA record) there;
36:00 – Coach Don Nelson falsely getting on Nater for not rebounding well enough in the 33-rebound game;
37:25 – A fight with Lonnie Shelton in which Swen’s grandma got involved;
39:35 – Fatty Taylor of the Virginia Squires chugging a beer in one take during halftime, then proceeding to make threes, which he rarely did;
43:00 – The underrated players of the ABA – Bobby Jones, James Silas, George Karl, Cincinnatus Powell, John Williamson, Brian Taylor;
46:20 – The fun they had at the Buffalo Braves/San Diego Clippers – Uncle Tom of the Year award (won by Swen and Sidney Wicks), Marvin Barnes air-balling a game-winner in a game for the playoffs.
The media related to the podcast:
Here is an article by The Evening Independent on the Swen Nater – Lonnie Shelton fight (as is the picture above).
Notable snippets of the interview:
Thanks to Swen for coming on the podcast, sharing his life story and providing us with some hilarious tales from the ABA and the NBA of the 70s!