Dan Issel Rumors
Efforts to bring the NBA to Louisville, long seen as a longshot, may finally be shortening the distance to the goal. It’s not yet a layup — far from it — but the percentages should be more promising after Wednesday’s announcement that Dan Issel has joined some of the city’s deepest pockets in pursuit of a professional basketball team.
The Louisville Basketball Investment and Support Group — which includes Brown-Forman chairman George Garvin Brown IV and Matthew Barzun, former U.S. Ambassador to the United Kingdom — has announced the commitment of $750,000 in seed money to chase a dream that has remained out of reach since the Kentucky Colonels folded in 1976.
“Commissioner Silver said the NBA would be flattered that Louisville wanted a team,” Issel said. “He said right now there is no timetable for expansion. That will be their stance until they start accepting applications. … What we want is to be ready to go. If and when they accept applications, we want to be on the top of the pile.”
The colorful legacy of the American Basketball Association will be celebrated at Bankers Life Fieldhouse on April 7, 2018, when the ABA’s 50th reunion is held. All proceeds will go to the Dropping Dimes Foundation, an Indianapolis-based charity that assists former ABA players, coaches, and team employees in need of financial or health care assistance. The event will bring a retro ABA All-Star weekend feel to downtown Indianapolis. Many of the league’s greatest players and coaches are scheduled to attend, including former Pacers legend George McGinnis and legendary Pacers coach Slick Leonard, Julius Erving, Spencer Haywood, Dan Issel, George Gervin, and Artis Gilmore. NBC announcer Bob Costas will serve as master of ceremonies. During the program, the list of the ABA’s all-time 50 greatest players will be announced, as voted on by a media panel.
That said, the concern over back-to-backs is a source of amusement for former players like Dan Issel, whose 15-year career featured countless sets of back-to-backs, more than 50 back-to-back-to-backs and about a dozen back-to-back-to-back-to-backs. In an email, Issel said he had no specific recollection of any of them, not even the time he scored 37 points for the Kentucky Colonels of the A.B.A. in his fourth game in as many days in 1970. (N.B.A. players of that era were no strangers to four straight games, either.) To Issel, those stretches never seemed remarkable. He would have gladly played in even more of them, he said, had his teams “flown charter with sleeper seats and great meals, and stayed in five-star hotels,” a reference to some of the amenities available to today’s players.
As part of the 2016-17 home-opener festivities, the Denver Nuggets will retire former legend Dikembe Mutombo’s #55 jersey, President and Governor Josh Kroenke announced today. Mutombo was inducted into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame in September 2015 and will become the fifth player and sixth representative in team history to have his number enshrined in the rafters. He joins fellow Nuggets greats Byron Beck (#40), Alex English (#2), Dan Issel (#44), David Thompson (#33) and Doug Moe, who coached the team to a franchise-record 432 wins. This will mark the first time that the Nuggets have retired a player’s number at Pepsi Center.