Reinis Lacis's Basketball Blog

The Handle Podcast – Swen Nater: 02/07/16


By Reinis Lacis (@LamarMatic)

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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;
39:35Fatty 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:

Subscribe on iTunes, on Stitcher, on the podcast’s RSS feed, on YouTube or follow me on Twitter to keep up with the podcast.

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!


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This entry was posted on February 7, 2016 by in The Handle Podcast, Vintage NBA and tagged .
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