http://hawaiitribune-herald.com/sports/ ... stops-hilo
BlatherThe American Basketball Association was once home to some of the games greats, including Julius Dr. J Irving, George Iceman Gervin, and Moses Malone.
The ABA, which was founded in 1967, went into cold storage with the ABA-NBA merger in 1976 and was brought back to life in 1999.
In April, the ABA announced the Hawaii Hammerheads as the latest expansion team for the upcoming season, which runs from November through March.
The Hammerheads will have 18 games, including 16 at home at either Honolulus Neal Blaisdell Center or Radford Highs Gym or maybe Hilo Civic.
The first signed player for the Hammerheads was Aukai Wong, a 2005 Hilo graduate, who wasnt selected in the NBAs D-League draft last year.
ABA president of basketball operations Kevin Williams is looking to schedule the Hammerheads for a two-game series at Hilo Civic to give Wong a homecoming.
Our name is the Hawaii Hammerheads, he said, emphasizing the Hawaii part. Were also looking into playing on Maui, too.
The last pro organization to play on the Big Island was the Hawaii Stars of the Pacific Association, an independent baseball league, which ditched Hilo after the 2013 season.
The two Northern California teams refused to travel to either Hilo or Maui because of airfare and lodging costs. There were just four teams in the Pacific Association.
The Hawaii Stars debuted in 2012. There was little marketing put into the team, which never won a championship and didnt draw well, often less than 200 fans, despite a half-dozen local players.
Over to the bigger round ball, there were several attempts by ABA expansion teams to hit a home run on Oahu. They all struck out.
In 2005, the Hawaii Mega Force closed shop after just two ABA games.
Mega Force owner Orrys Williams was banned for life from the league because he failed to fulfill several obligations, including making payments to his players.
The Hawaii Hurricanes, Pacific Rim Rockers, Honolulu Pegasus, other ABA expansion entries, also encountered financial problems due to the long-distance travel and never got off the ground.
Itll definitely work this time around. We have finances in place and a partnership deal with Hawaiian Airlines, Williams said.
The Hawaii Hammerheads are responsible for flying other ABA teams from Las Vegas to Hawaii, a cost-effective move for Williams and the league.
As for the lodging, it helps to have multiple hotels putting in bids.
We were close to a deal, but another hotel offer came in so were weighing that, he said.
With games on Oahu, the Hammerheads will run into competition with UH-Manoa basketball games and high school games on Saturday.
But theyll also feature games in the mid-afternoon on Sundays, most times at 4 p.m. If the Hammerheads hit it big at the gate, Sunday will be the day.
Were hoping to create the same fan base and work with those organizations, Williams said.
The ABA is not affiliated with the NBA like how Major League Baseball has its minor league farm teams under its umbrella.
But the ABA has a long-standing relationship with the NBA.
We have a connection with the NBA and the D-League, Williams said. Our focus is getting our players to the NBAs D-League combine and to play in the NBA. Were partners with international leagues.
The No. 1 thing is you get paid to play with us, and you get a chance to get to the NBA or the NBAs D-League.
The salary range will be $1,500 to $3,500 a month, Williams said.
But it goes without saying for a chance to play pro ball, get film resume and maybe a shot at the NBA, thats priceless.