View Full Version : While Rome burned....
12-18-2003, 12:30 PM
...Mr. Clark was thanking the NBA for bringing attention to the ABA.
Jim Clark, CEO of the ABA today responded to the many calls and letters received by the league asking about the NBA's use of legendary ABA players, NBA teams using ABA retro uniforms and the NBA's marketing of ABA merchandise. "We are extremely pleased that the NBA has used the ABA in its overall marketing plans both in the NBA and its developmental league, the NBDL," stated Clark. "It has brought great attention to our league, to our red, white and blue ball, and has helped carry on the tradition of the ABA which was originally co-founded by the current ABA co-founder, Dick Tinkham."
Mr. Clark, with all due respect - you have the same name as that league. Dick Tinkham is involved. And you have a red, white and blue ball. But that's it.
When the NBA harkens back to the ABA in its marketing, they're not talking about you. They're not talking about a league that doesn't say where its teams are playing, that has Wayne Butler for an owner, and has crowds in the hundreds. And I don't care how the original ABA started with carpetbagging franchises and low crowds, that was 1967 and things are different now.
Wow. Amazing spin there.
Anybody who has read Jim Clark's correspondance on this site, others and in the media would have to agree that he is being "Newmanized."
I wouldn't be surprised if Joe Newman was putting this stuff out and putting Jim Clark's name on it.
If the current ABA is going to take credit for the NBA's retro push...then the USBL will take credit for them using the red white and blue basketball (we were using it five years before the current ABA was contrived)....The USBL has as much right to make that claim as the current ABA does.
Was Tinkham a co-founder of the original ABA? I had heard that he was a media relations guy for one of the teams. I might be wrong...somebody set me straight.
12-18-2003, 06:10 PM
Dick Tinkham was not one of the people with the idea to start the ABA, but he was among the investors from Indiana who attended early meetings in New York and who actually had the money to participate in the start up of the league. Tinkham was involved in the organizational meetings and was among those who actually participated in the league's startup and then remained with the league on an official capacity.
Terry Pluto's book "Loose Balls:The Short, Wild Life of the American Basketball Association" is a great source of info about the league and a great read.
I also happened to know one of the original owners of the Pacers, his sons and I were good friends. With a bit of digging I can find quite a bit of info I have collected about the ABA. I also covered the league as a sports writer and photographer during the middle and later years.
The new ABA is, in many ways, like the original. Many of the events related in Pluto's book (such as player's contracts being written on cocktail napkins, to name one) have been repeated in the new league.
12-18-2003, 07:21 PM
The difference, meyes, is that you could get away with all of that in 1967. In 2003-2004, with the plethora of sportainment options available, you simply can't run a league, even a minor league, on that type of shoestring. The marketplace simply won't allow it. And there are not only many more spots for talented players at the very top level, unlike 1967, but there are also other professional options below the NBA level that players who are perhaps almost as talented as the NBA players can choose, and those other leagues at least are run better than this one.
What the ABA is doing now is not an homage to its namesake - it's simply bad business. And it doesn't appear as though anything has really changed much since they took 19 months off.
12-18-2003, 10:19 PM
True, times are different now but that brings plusses as well as minuses. This ABA has the internet which makes information available to those who want to find it, even if newspapers, magazines, radio and television don't distribute the information. No league can survive just because of the internet and, of course, more negative information and disinformation can be distributed. And this league would do itself a great service if it could manage to get all scores on its own web site within an hour of the completion of ALL games, and include complete and accurate box scores for all games in that same time frame. Decent stories about the games shortly after that would be good also.
But the game on the court is what should decide the fate of the league and it would be helpful if fans and potential fans knew beforehand when and where every game is to be played.
There is another similarity between the two leagues, however. Both came into existence because people wanted to do something a bit differently than it was already being done. There were many people then and now who didn't really know how to start and run a professional basketball league but they did it anyway. There were people then and there are people now who truly believe in what they are doing and are determined to succeed. They keep going because they focus on what is going right, even if it isn't much.
Here are a few quotes from "Loose Balls".
Dick Tinkham -- "When the ABA began, none of us had any idea what we were doing."
Mike Storen (later to become GM of the Indiana Pacers, then the Kentucky Colonels, then league commissioner) -- "In my mind, the ABA had a snowball's chance in hell of becoming a viable pro basketball league."
It seems to me I have heard lots of similar words from observers about the current league. The formation of this league was announced five or six years ago and a game is being played as I type this. There is no question this league has a long way to go before it will look truly professional and seasons to play before it is likely to be regarded as an established, respected league. It might not accomplish either. But, then again, it might.
Basketball courts are the same size as they were in 1967, the balls are still round, the rims are still 10 feet high, and people are still people. Those are the basics of the game. It is the same and it is different. What this ABA does does not change anything the original ABA did. What the original ABA did may have provided a recognizable name and ball for this ABA but this league will untimately succeed or fail because of what the people in it do. We shall see.
12-19-2003, 06:21 AM
Hey, meyes, you want quotes? How about this unintentional comedy from Dick Tinkham in January of 2000?
"I do not see how this new league can miss. I do believe it will be the model of all professional leagues in the new millennium."
Well, it's a model all right.
12-19-2003, 10:16 AM
If the right people do the right things to execute what the ABA is supposed to be, Tinkham may be proven correct. Right now the ABA is being judged by what it has done. That is fair. What else could it be judged by?
I know what the ABA is intended to be and I am frustrated that league management is screwing up so many small details that should not be hard to fix that it is not managing to put enough of the plan in place to show people what the league really could offer.
It now appears that Las Vegas may finally (yes, months late) have all the pieces in place, but announcing details of the promotion for the first home game, including where it will be played, on the same day as the game just defies common sense. Very few, if any, people are going to just drop all their plans on Christmas week to go to a basketball game being played by two teams they have never heard of in a league they have never heard of.
But, I prefer to look at the positive side, and that is that two weeks ago I had given up on the idea that the ABA would be able to play this season with more than five teams. The league hadn't given up though - and that is the one thing that league officials get right, they don't give up!
12-19-2003, 11:00 AM
If the right people do the right things to execute what the ABA is supposed to be, Tinkham may be proven correct.
And if my mom had two wheels, she'd be a bicycle.
The league hadn't given up though - and that is the one thing that league officials get right, they don't give up!
And that's the problem...because they should.
12-19-2003, 11:27 AM
The main reason I have a negative view of the ABA was the posters on here that, no matter how bad things were or how obvious it was that the ABA's problems were internal, would always make excuses, tell us how superior the ABA was and bring up such dumb arguments as the 3D rule and it takes years and years to be successful.
With the change of this board, those guys and their goofy ways are gone. Now I just feel sorry for the ABA, its players and its fans. They deserve better.
12-19-2003, 12:08 PM
Rocky, I believe that was ONE poster with many names. :)
Dick Tinkham was quoted as saying that they didn't know what they were doing when the original ABA started.
Am I the only one who wonders what they learned 30 years ago...and why didn't they incorporate what they learned into the current ABA?
12-19-2003, 01:02 PM
Hey, TEN, what do you think of holding a press conference on the day of the home opener to announce where the game will be that night?
I think that holding a press conference to announce where that night's game would be is a vast improvement from what has been normal with the ABA...Just playing the games without announcing where they are being played!
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