Miami Floridians Rumors
The ABA was known for its craziness. Many observers believe the Floridians were the wackiest gang of all. When he took over as owner, Doyle also unveiled the Floridians ball girls. He hired five young women who wore bikinis during games to excite the crowd and distract opponents. “They used to stand underneath the basket when the other team would shoot free throws,” Calvin, who led the Floridians in scoring with a 27.2 average in 1970-71 and a 21.0 average in 1971-72, said from his home in New Orleans. “They’d turn their butt around and wiggle any part of the body. And it worked.”
The ball girls would make trips with the team. One was to a game at Dec. 23, 1971 game against the Carolina Cougars at New York’s Madison Square Garden, where the girls got far more publicity than either of the teams. Newspapers ran photos of them and one paper’s headline screamed, “Ball girls invade Garden.” “When we went to New York, seeing these tanned bikini-clad blondes just caused so much excitement,” Cindy said in a 1978 interview about the trip just before Christmas, which featured three of the girls popping out of Santa Claus’ bag before the game.
At home games, the Floridians had promotions in which they gave away pairs of pantyhouse to the first 500 women attendance. At Thanksgiving, fans could win live turkeys. There also were giveaways of 15 pounds of smoked fish, 57 pounds of Irish potatoes and 53 pumpkin pies. Promotions included cow-milking and snake-handling contests and a man wrestling a bear. Miami Dolphins kicker Garo Yepremian was brought in to try to kick a ball through the hoop. But it didn’t help attendance much. With South Florida games being played at the Miami Beach Convention Center or at Miami College, the team was lucky to get 2,000 fans. Some crowds were below 1,000. “It was sparse,” Ira Harge, a rugged center for the Floridians, said from his home in Albuquerque, N.M. “But one of the good things was you could just go up and interact with the fans.”
The attendance was so miserable at Miami Dade College for a televised playoff game against the Virginia Squires in 1972 that action had to be taken. “We played the Virginia Squires when they had Dr. J.,” said Calvin, referring to Julius Erving’s gang sweeping a first-round series 4-0 in what would turn out to be final games in Floridians’ history. “They wanted to make it look like it was a full house so had all the fans sit one on one side.” As for Doyle, Calvin said he always would be at the same place for game. “He stayed drunk,” Calvin said. “He would sit at the scorer’s table and drink his scotch.”