By Reinis Lacis (@LamarMatic)
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You can’t tell the story of the ABA without multiple mentions of Mike Storen. The former general manager of the Indiana Pacers, the Kentucky Colonels and the one-time commissioner of the league joined the podcast to describe his career path, provide us with insight about his front office moves at Indiana and paint a picture of how the league operated.
Topics discussed in the podcast:
02:20 – Growing up in the basketball-crazed state of Indiana, being replaced by a lifelong friend on his high school team;
05:50 – Enlisting in the Marine Corps, sending a letter to every professional sports organization, lack of ticket sales for the Chicago Zephyrs motivating a call to the team’s owner David Trager;
10:10 – The team becoming the Baltimore Bullets, him moving there for a job, taking the Indiana Pacers offer because of the 100% authority he would get as the general manager;
14:20 – The fun job of creating the 1967-68 Indiana Pacers team, Roger Brown as the team’s best talent, Bob Netolicky and Freddie Lewis also being there from the beginning;
17:30 – Reggie Harding and the troubles he had, him actually owing money to the team because of a fine system, Harding threatening Mike in a television interview;
21:30 – ABA games televised locally, yet not being archived, historians unsuccessfully trying to find film, ABA vs. NBA exhibition games;
28:05 – The trade for Mel Daniels, Mike and Dick Tinkham making arrangements with a bank to lease Daniels to the Pacers, the financial problems of ABA teams;
32:25 – Firing head coach Larry Staverman due to the lack of control he had over the team, Slick Leonard being a logical choice because of his local status, the similarities between Leonard and Gregg Popovich;
39:20 – An offer he couldn’t refuse of leaving the Pacers to join the new Kentucky Colonels ownership group, the terms he could set for his contract, creating a bigger Colonels fan base;
45:30 – His teams winning championships after he had left, the realignment of the ABA so the Colonels and the Pacers wouldn’t be in the same division, the 1973 ABA Finals in which George McGinnis was the only major participant not to be hired or signed by Mike;
49:10 – Becoming the league’s commissioner, working in multiple positions, everyone in the ABA being invested in the success of the league, the occasional selfishness like in the case of Artis Gilmore being routed to Kentucky;
55:10 – The economic opportunity of taking over the Memphis franchise as the majority owner, the franchise not lasting until the merger, Memphis Grizzlies bringing back Tams and Sounds jerseys, having no regrets about his time in the NBA.
The media related to the podcast:
(Source – http://img.bleacherreport.net/img/slides/photos/003/293/370/cunningham-137779263-630_crop_north.jpg?w=600&h=399&q=75)
(Source – http://www.remembertheaba.com/Memphis-Tams.html)
(Source – http://www.nba.com/grizzlies/hardwood-classic-nights/)
(Source – http://www.grizzlybearblues.com/2015/6/8/8746255/memphis-grizzlies-leaked-2015-16-aba-alternate-throwback-uniforms-sounds)
Notable snippets of the interview:
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Thanks to Mike for coming on the podcast and educating us about the ABA!
Mike Storen should be in the HOF.
He had as much to do with the incredible run of the
ABA as anyone.
LikeLiked by 1 person
Thanks for the comment, Pat! He really should be in the HOF. Actually I believe that two ABA related guests of this podcast are now among the biggest HOF snubs. One is Mike Storen. The second one is Darel Carrier.
Definitely a man (like my Dad) from the WWII generation — got a little con-man in him, too. That said, I loved the tone in his response to your conflict-of-interest question. I imagine a guy like Walter Brown would have the same answer to such a probing question.
By the way, the baby in his lap during his Zephyr/Bullet days was, still is ESPN’s Hannah Storm … ever given any thought to interviewing her?
A+ effort, as always, my friend.
That might have been one of the best answers I’ve received on this podcast because of the tone in which he did it. Always up for ideas like that. Just need to execute them.
Thanks for the praise, Abacus!
Hi great readding your blog