For the Wednesday Oklahoman, I wrote about David Vance and the birth of the blocked shot as an official statistic. You can read that column here. But the occasion gave Vance and I reason to look at all kinds of great memories about the ABA. The American Basketball Association spent nine years as an upstart league before finally merging with the NBA in 1976. Merge is not really accurate. The NBA absorbed four ABA franchises; 10 started that 1975-76 season. Three folded before the year was over, and three didn’t make the cut.
David Vance Rumors
Talking with Vance was a great step back in time. A few of the nuggets: * Vance walked out of Will Ferrell’s movie, “Semi-Pro,” which loosely was based on the ABA. It was mostly hijinks and no crowds. “The ABA wasn’t like that,” Vance said. “It was the day of the Afro and those big high-rise shoes and fur coats. All that went with the image. Everyone assumed we played street ball. That offended me a little bit.” * I remember Louie Dampier, the great shooter from the University of Kentucky, who was with Vance’s Kentucky Colonels. Vance told the story of an exhibition game in Owensboro, Ky., where the 3-point line had to be manually placed on the court, since only the ABA was using the arc at the time. Dampier walked into the arena before the game, still in street clothes, holding his satchel, and walked to the 3-point line. He looked at the basket and said, “It’s off.” Game officials proceeded to measure the 3-point line. It was an inch off. “That’s a shooter’s mentality,” Vance said.